Could an end come for discrimination based on hair style? A bill filed by state Sen. Randolph Bracy would provide protections to the dreadlocked, cornrowed and bald — and really any hairdo.
The legislation (SB 566) adds “protected hairstyle” as an impermissible grounds for bias with respect to employment, school enrollment and a swath of other arenas. It puts hairdos in the same protected class as race, religion, gender, national origin, age, handicap and marital status.
The Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, or “CROWN Act” could have particular importance for racial minorities. And employers like Disney for decades famously barred employees from wearing a number of hairstyles most prevalent among black citizens.
The Orlando Democrat’s bill makes specific mention of “hair characteristics historically associated with race, such as hair texture and styles, including, but not limited to, braids, locks, or twists.” The bill seems as easily applied to hair styles associated with Asian culture as to the coifs of black Floridians.
The change in statute will primarily impact the Florida Housing Finance Corporation Act, but Bracy’s bill makes sure to add “protected hairstyle” language to numerous chapters of Florida law.
If approved, the legislation also looks to stop discrimination within schools based on hair style, impacting dress codes that prohibit certain dos.