Gov. Ned Lamont has signed into law House Bill 6515, entitled “An Act Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”, commonly known as the “CROWN Act”, which makes it illegal to discriminate based on a person’s hair texture or protective hairstyle in employment, public accommodations, housing, credit practices, union membership, and state agency practices. The legislation is aimed at protecting people of color from discrimination based upon their hair.
The legislation does so by changing the legal definition of the word “race” to specifically include “ethnic traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.” Under the bill, protective hairstyles include “wigs, headwraps and hairstyles such as individual braids, cornrows, locs, twists, Bantu knots, afros and afro puffs.”
The CROWN Act is effective immediately. In passing this legislation, Connecticut joins several other states, including New York and New Jersey, in banning discrimination based on an individual’s hair.
If you have questions about the CROWN Act or how it may impact your workplace’s dress or appearance code, please contact a member of Carmody’s Labor & Employment Team.