HR professionals and lawmakers have tossed around if discriminating due to hairstyle is legally acceptable. The California Governor, Gavin Newsom has enacted a ban on policies that discriminate against natural hair. Equating such policies as a form of racial discrimination. If you haven’t heard, it’s the law called the CROWN Act, originally introduced in New York city, which provided guidance against workplace discrimination based on employees’ hairstyles. The Act would also include protection for such hairstyles as twists and braids.
Willis HR’s Opinion:
Right, wrong or indifferent, we fully expect other states to continue the trend on banning hairstyle discrimination. Along those same lines, Diversity & Inclusion is one of the top initiatives for most competitive organizations. Going beyond what is legally required is most likely going to promote employee retention, employee morale, and feelings of inclusion. If organizations choose not to adopt such practices, there may be a perception that the employer is not inclusive or diverse. That perception may cause applicants with a diverse background to seek employment elsewhere.
Whether you agree or not, look at what the goals and values of the organization are and what they are promoting. The decisions made by business owners and CEO’s will have a lasting impact to the organizational brand and culture. Unconscious bias training is also becoming popular and should also be paired with inclusive policies. Some of the company benefits of focusing on diversity & inclusion may be improved recruiting efforts, employee retention, higher levels of productivity, and workplace culture. At the end of the day, the decision remains with the employer. If you have any questions about inclusive cultures or policies, do not hesitate to reach out to the Willis HR team.