SB 188, better known as the CROWN Act, prohibits an employer from withholding or terminating employment or promotion based on discrimination against the protected employee or applicant's hairstyle. The bill, which goes into effect on January 1, 2020, makes California the first state in the union to ban discrimination on the basis of hairstyles associated with race. Specifically, the bill amends section 212.1 of the Education Code and section 12926 of the Government Code to define “Protective hairstyles” as including but not limited to, “such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.” Notably, this bill also expands the FEHA definition of race to note that the term “Race” includes “…traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.” The bill’s author notes that the bill is intended to, “prohibit an employer from withholding or terminating employment or promotion based on discrimination against the protected employee or applicant's hairstyle. It will also prevent schools from disrupting a child's education based on the way they wear their hair. These protections will help mitigate the unfair scrutiny and significant injustices Black people face because of their hair.” The full text of the bill can be found at: http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201920200SB188.
If you have questions about these amendments, policy compliance or policy drafting or any other employment law questions, contact the employment attorneys at LightGabler for assistance..