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California’s Crown Act fights against subtle workplace racism

On Behalf of | Aug 26, 2021 | Employment Discrimination

Overt workplace racism is something that people know violates their rights as employees. The use of inappropriate humor or workplace hostility to make someone feel uncomfortable because of their race is a documentable and provable offense.

The same is true of situations involving company employment practices that largely keep people of certain racial backgrounds out of the company or from advancing if they do secure a job. 

However, sometimes, companies are more subtle in their racism, making it harder to identify and prove. They may hire people of different races but will impose certain unfair expectations on them. The Crown Act is the bill that became a California law intended to help tackle a common form of workplace racial discrimination.

Companies shouldn’t consider natural hairstyles unprofessional

People from different ethnic backgrounds have different kinds of hair. Those with a predominantly European lineage can easily maintain straight hairstyles in most cases. However, making straight hair the standard for professionalism puts people of other cultural backgrounds at a disadvantage. 

Some would argue that company hairstyle rules that require straightened hair or specifically ban natural hairstyles like afros or box braids encourage discrimination. Those rules also impose an unfair additional financial burden on employees whose hair doesn’t fit a company’s professional appearance standards. 

The Crown Act helped change California law to make such policies illegal and allow workers to fight back against appearance-based forms of racial discrimination. Workers denied employment opportunities or penalized for natural or protective hairstyles can push back against such treatment. 

Being able to recognize racial discrimination and knowing the laws that protect you on the job are important to fighting workplace racism effectively.

 

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