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 Can your employer restrict your hairstyles?

On Behalf of | Aug 21, 2021 | Workplace Discrimination |

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has grooming standards that are agreed upon that determine what an employer can or cannot require in the workplace in terms of hairstyles and grooming. 

Most of the time, grooming codes are acceptable, but they do have to be clear of discrimination. Different appearance standards for male and female employees are not enough alone to result in a sex discrimination claim, but those standards do have to be fair to the employees based on their individual situations. 

What is the CROWN Act?

The CROWN Act specifically applies to hairstyles in the workplace and prohibits employers from denying educational or employment opportunities based on a person’s hair texture. This act also goes on to include restrictions against discrimination for hairstyles such as:

  • Locs
  • Twists
  • Braids
  • Bantu knots
  • Afros
  • Tight coils or curls

These hairstyles have long been associated and traditionally been worn by those of African descent, so the United States Congress passed the CROWN Act to help reduce the likelihood of discrimination based on these styles or features. 

What should you do if you’re discriminated against?

If you wear your hair in one of these ways and are discriminated against, or if your workplace’s grooming code prohibits a style that is traditional, it’s important that you do stand up for yourself. The CROWN Act is there to protect you and to make sure that you are treated fairly no matter what your hair texture is or your favored protective style may be. Our website has more information on dealing with workplace discrimination and what to do if it affects you.