June 11, 2019: RADIOFACTS - The C.R.O.W.N. Act’ To End Hair Discrimination In The Workplace And Schools Passes California Assembly Judiciary Committee Vote

June 12, 2019

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The CROWN Coalition, a national alliance comprised of the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Color Of Change, and Dove, is proud to announce the bill they are sponsoring, Senate Bill 188 (The C.R.O.W.N. Act), passed the California Assembly Judiciary Committee today.

Introduced by Senator Holly J. Mitchell, SB 188 aims to “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair” (The C.R.O.W.N. Act) by clarifying that traits historically associated with race, such as hair texture and hairstyle, should be protected from discrimination in the workplace and in K-12 public and charter schools.

In a recent Dove Crown Research study, Black women reported they are 80 percent more likely to change their natural hair to meet social norms or expectations at work. Moreover, Black women were 1.5 times more likely to have reported having been sent home or know of a Black woman sent home from the workplace because of her hair. It’s the unfortunate narrow beauty standards in America that continue to perpetuate unfair scrutiny, injustice and discrimination in workplaces and schools against Black women and girls for wearing hairstyles inherent to Black identity.

“Many Black employees, including your staff, members, will tell you if given the chance that the struggle to maintain what society has deemed a ‘professional image’ while protecting the health and integrity of their hair remains a defining and paradoxical struggle in their work experience, not usually shared by their non-Black peers,” said Senator Mitchell shortly before the Assembly Committee hearing. “Members, it is 2019. Any law that sanctions a job description that immediately excludes me from a position, not because of my capabilities or experience but because of my hair, is long overdue for reform.”

The C.R.O.W.N. Act will ensure protection against discrimination in the workplace and schools based on hairstyles by prohibiting employers and schools from enforcing purportedly “race neutral” grooming policies restricting natural hair styles that disproportionately impact persons of color. Additionally, while anti-discrimination laws presently protect the choice to wear an Afro, Afros are not the only natural presentation of Black hair. SB 188 will ensure protection against discrimination based on hairstyles by extending statutory protection to hair texture and protective styles in the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and the California Education Code.

“At Dove, we are committed to championing real beauty for women and girls, and we believe the individuality of hair should be celebrated and respected in culture,” said Esi Eggleston Bracey, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of North America Beauty and Personal Care at Unilever. “As a proud co-founding member of The CROWN Coalition, we’re overjoyed to see that the California Assembly Judiciary Committee passed SB 188, and look forward to continuing to drive equity and fairness for all women and men, particularly around hair inclusivity. Our goal is to drive this legislation to a full California win before the end of this year and continue to march around the U.S., to advocate for change.”

The CROWN Coalition, in support of The C.R.O.W.N. Act, aims to put an end to the significant injustices of hair discrimination that has spanned decades across the United States.

The CROWN Coalition

The CROWN Coalition is a national alliance comprised of the National Urban League, Western Center on Law & Poverty, Color Of Change, and Dove as sponsors of Senate Bill 188 ‘The C.R.O.W.N. Act’. The CROWN Coalition members believe diversity and inclusion are key drivers of success across all industries and sectors.