August 2022: Louisiana Joins Growing List of States Prohibiting Hairstyle Discrimination

01 Aug

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

What happened?
On June 21, 2022, Governor Edwards signed House Bill 1083 (HB 1083), also known as the “CROWN Act,” into law which amends the definition of intentional discrimination in employment under Louisiana law to include any discriminatory practices with respect to any individual’s “compensation, or terms, conditions, or privileges of employment” because of “natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle.”

What are the details? 
Effective August 1, 2022, employers will be prohibited from discriminating against individuals based on ethnic traits, such as protective hairstyles (i.e., hairstyle, color, or manner of wearing hair that minimizes manipulation and/or damage of natural hair) in employment, public schools, public accommodations, and housing opportunities. 

For private employers, the CROWN Act amends the Louisiana Employment Discrimination Law by defining the terms “natural, protective, or cultural hairstyle” to include “afros, dreadlocks, twists, locks, braids, cornrow braids, Bantu knots, curls, and hair styled to protect hair texture or for cultural significance.” The act prohibits discrimination against individuals with hairstyles historically associated with race. However, the law includes any “cultural hairstyle,” which could include hairstyles that are not necessarily associated with a specific race.

The new state law does not address potential conflicts between an applicant’s or employee’s protected hairstyle and an employer’s bona fide safety rules or measures. For example, an employee required to wear safety headgear might be precluded from safely doing so by the employee’s hairstyle if the hairstyle prevents the headgear from fitting correctly.

For more information, please see the links below:

House Bill 1083 (HB 1083)

Article

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links above, provide education and training to their supervisory employees and managers, and review anti-discrimination policies and dress codes or grooming policies to comply with the CROWN Act.

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