The Texas CROWN Act was recently signed by the governor, making it yet another state to pass a law regarding hair discrimination.
Gov. Greg Abbot over the 2023 Memorial Day weekend signed the bill into law.
CROWN generally stands for Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair, though some jurisdictions vary slightly on the exact wording. These laws have become more prevalent in recent years, with about 20 states and several smaller jurisdictions with such laws on the books.
The Texas CROWN Act goes into effect Sept. 1, 2023.
States with Hair Discrimination Laws
Texas CROWN Act
Like other similar laws across the U.S., the Texas CROWN Act bars employers from discriminating against an employee based on their “hair texture or protective hairstyle commonly or historically associated with race.”
The text of the law specifically notes:
- Locks (locs)
Although many hair discrimination laws have generally been passed in more liberal states, there are some more conservative states, such as Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee, that have also enacted CROWN legislation.
Lastly, the Texas CROWN Act also extends to student dress codes and grooming policies, as well as housing.
Hair Discrimination Laws
The CROWN campaign was founded by Dove, the National Urban League, Color of Change and the Western Center on Law and Poverty.
California was the first state to pass a CROWN law, amending its Fair Employment and Housing Act to include language about hair discrimination.
These laws are primarily aimed at preventing discrimination against black women. In Delaware, which passed its CROWN law in 2021, a study was cited in a synopsis of the law:
- Black women are 80 percent more likely to change their natural hair to conform to social norms or expectations at work
- Black women are 50 percent more likely to be sent home (or know of another Black woman who was sent home) from work because of her hair
- Black women are 30 percent more likely to be told of workplace appearance policies
Along with Texas, the other states that have passed CROWN laws include:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
Employment Law Compliance
As you can see with the Texas Crown Act, there is more to employment law compliance than maintaining a strong labor law poster program, keeping up with changing minimum wage rates and ensuring you’re adhering to new paid leave statutes.
From protections for off-duty marijuana use to noncompete laws, reporting requirements and more, it’s incumbent upon large employers to have a grasp of all the statutes that affect their locations.
Plus, there has recently been a rise in class-action lawsuits regarding employment law, adding importance to compliance.
With the Texas CROWN Act going into effect soon, employers should review their internal policies and employee handbooks — as well as any diversity training programs — to ensure they are aligned with the new law.
As a reminder, it goes into effect Sept. 1, 2023.