The Connecticut General Assembly has approved legislation prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyles that are historically associated with race.

HB 6515, known as the Crown Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair), passed the state Senate unanimously March 1 after gaining House passage the previous week.

Gov. Ned Lamont indicated he will sign the bill, which amends the state’s discrimination prevention statutes to define race as a protected class "being inclusive of ethnic traits historically associated with race, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles."

Under HB 6515, "'Protective hairstyles' includes, but is not limited to, wigs, headwraps, and hairstyles such as individual braids, cornrows, locs, twists, Bantu knots, afros, and afro puffs."

Emergency certification and House and Senate passage followed a lengthy public hearing where a number of women testified about their experiences with being discriminated against in the workplace due to their hairstyles.

Many recalled being told their chosen hairstyles made them look less professional. 

Once enacted, the statute will immediately allow workplace discrimination claims based on hairstyles to be brought before the CHRO.

California, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, and Colorado all have similar laws.

For more information, contact CBIA's Diane Mokriski (860.244.1900) | @HRHotline.

Filed Under: Discrimination, Employment Law

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