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News > NYC to Ban Discrimination Based On Hair
February 19, 2019

NYC to Ban Discrimination Based On Hair

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Targeting people based on their hair or hairstyle will now be legally considered racial discrimination in New York City under new guidelines from the New York City Commission on Human Rights, the New York Times reports. The change in law is meant to ensure protection for black people who often face disciplinary action at work or school based on hair.

 

The guidelines state the right of New York residents to “maintain their “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”

 

 

The Commission on Human Rights “can levy penalties up to $250,000 on defendants that are found in violation of the guidelines,” in addition to forcing that defendant companies make “internal policy changes and rehirings.” 

 

“This new legal enforcement guidance will help school administrators, employers, and providers of public accommodations to understand that Black New Yorkers have the right to wear their hair however they choose without fear of stigma or retaliation,” said NYC Human Rights Commissioner and Chair Carmelyn P. Malalis in a press release issued by the Commission.

 

The Commission also announced it is currently investigating seven discrimination cases based on natural hairstyles. Some of the trends the Commission’s law enforcement is seeing in these cases involve black employees:

  • being forced to wear their braided hair up when employees of other ethnicities can wear their long styles down
  • being fired for wearing her natural hair down
  • being told that locs are unacceptable and unclean and being forced to change her hair as a condition of employment

 

Image via nyc.gov/humanrights