February 2023: Minnesota Governor Signs CROWN Act into Law

15 Feb


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

What happened?
On February 1, 2023, Governor Walz signed House File 37 (HF 37), also known as the “Minnesota Crown Act, into law which prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyles, adding Minnesota to the growing list of states to enact such legislation, commonly referred to as the “CROWN Act.”

What are the details?

Effective immediately, The Minnesota CROWN Act amends the MHRA to define “race” as including “traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.” Minnesota Statute Section 363A.03, subd. 36a. The amendment provides explicit protection from any adverse employment action (discipline, failure to promote, termination, harassment, etc.) due to an employee’s hair texture or style associated with the person’s race.

In tandem with Governor Tim Walz’s signing the CROWN Act into law, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights issued a fact sheet, “Preventing Hair Discrimination,” explaining when the law applies and providing examples of hair discrimination that would violate the CROWN Act. In the fact sheet, the Department explains that the CROWN Act prohibits hair discrimination not only in employment but also in education, housing, and a variety of other settings—such as restaurants, banks, schools, and stores—where a person is purchasing goods or services. The Department’s examples of unlawful hair discrimination include discharging an employee for wearing hair braids, forcing a student to shave their head, or denying a person entry to a restaurant because of how they braid or twist their hair.     

For more information, please see the links below:

Minnesota Crown Act

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the links provided above and their policies to ensure they are broad enough to prohibit discrimination based on traits associated with race. Employers should also train their managers and human resources staff on these policies.

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