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On December 19, 2019, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed the “Create Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act” (CROWN Act) to address discrimination based on traits historically associated with race, particularly focused on hair texture and style. The CROWN Act effectively codified prior guidance from the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) clarifying how the DCR applies the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) to discrimination based on hairstyles. The NJLAD prohibits discrimination based on a number of characteristics including, race, national origin, sex and gender identity in housing, employment and public accommodations 

New Jersey is now the third state to enact legislation banning hair discrimination. In July 2019, California amended its Fair Employment and Housing Act and its Education Code to clarify that race includes “hair texture and protective hairstyles,” including “braids, locks and twists.” Similarly, in July 2019, New York amended its civil rights and education laws to clarify that the existing definition of race includes “traits historically associated with race,” including “hair texture and protective hairstyles” such as “braids locks and twists.”  

Employer Considerations 

Employers with employees in New Jersey should review their current policies and make any necessary updates and ensure employees/supervisors are properly trained on company policies.  

Resources: 

Senate Bill 3945 

NJ Division on Civil Rights Guidance 

The information and materials on this blog are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to constitute legal or tax advice. Information provided in this blog may not reflect the most current legal developments and may vary by jurisdiction. The content on this blog is for general informational purposes only and does not apply to any particular facts or circumstances. The use of this blog does not in any way establish an attorney-client relationship, nor should any such relationship be implied, and the contents do not constitute legal or tax advice. If you require legal or tax advice, please consult with a licensed attorney or tax professional in your jurisdiction. The contributing authors expressly disclaim all liability to any persons or entities with respect to any action or inaction based on the contents of this blog.

 

Lizet Ramirez – Lizet is a Client Compliance Manager for Sequoia One, where she works with our clients to optimize and streamline benefits compliance. In her free time, Lizet enjoys live music, travel, hiking and spa days.