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April 2022: Illinois Senate Passes Amendment to the CROWN Act

19 Apr

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Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Illinois.

What happened?
On April 9, 2022, the Illinois Senate passed House Amendment No. 1 to Senate Bill 3616 (SB 3616), joining the Illinois House in unanimously passing legislation, “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act” (the CROWN Act).

What are the details?
On August 13, 2021, Governor Pritzker signed into law a version of a CROWN Act which, due to various amendments, ended up only applying to schools and not places of employment, despite the “CROWN” acronym referencing a respectful and open “workplace.”

The original version of SB 3616 would have added the new definition of “race” under the definition of “Unlawful Discrimination” found in the General Definitions section of the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA), but specifically limited to use in Article 2 of the IHRA relating to employment.

In the House amendment, the definition of “race” stands on its own in the General Definitions section, which means that it also applies to all other areas of the IHRA that prohibit discrimination, including, among other areas, housing, public accommodation, and real estate transactions.

It is expected that Governor Pritzker will sign the bill into law. Assuming this to be the case, the CROWN Act creates a definition of “race” under the IHRA to include “traits associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.”

For more information, please see the links below:

Senate Bill 3616

Amendment 1

Article

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and should be wary of how they outline their grooming guidelines when it comes to hairstyles.

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