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18 Jan

Oregon’s New Bill Prohibits Discrimination of Hairstyles of Employees

Posted at

9:47pm

in

Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Oregon

What happened?
On June 11, 2021, Governor Kate Brown signed House Bill 2935 (HB 2935) into law, prohibiting discrimination based on hairstyles associated with a person’s race.

What are the details?
HB 2935, also known as “the CROWN ACT,” prohibits discrimination based on protective hairstyles. Protective hairstyles are defined as “hair color or manner of wearing hair that includes, but is not limited to, braids, regardless of whether the braids are created with extensions or styled with adornments, locs, and twists.”

The law also expands the definition of “race” under ORS 659A to include “physical characteristics that are historically associated with race, including but not limited to natural hair, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.” The CROWN Act specifically applies to Oregon employers and public schools.

The CROWN Act also addresses dress codes that may have a disproportionate adverse impact on members of a protected class. Oregon anti-discrimination act, ORS 659A, does not prohibit employers from enforcing an otherwise valid dress code or policy so long as the policy provides reasonable accommodations. The CROWN Act further specifies that the dress code or policy must not have a disproportionate adverse impact on members of a protected class to a greater extent than the policy impacts persons generally.

The CROWN Act has been in effect since January 1, 2022.

For more information, please see the links below:

House Bill 2935

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and be mindful and provide employees a place free of discrimination, but also take into consideration a reasonable dress code policy.

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