There are countless types of discrimination that can occur in the workplace. One that may not be as obvious or discussed is hair and grooming discrimination.
For years, some stereotypes have been in place related to natural hairstyles and textures that have natural meaning. In these situations, some individuals experienced national origin and racial discrimination.
Cases of past discrimination
In the past, many people of African descent were denied employment or education opportunities due to their natural hairstyles. These usually included things like hair that is tightly curled, tightly coiled, worn in braids, Afros, cornrows, locks, and Bantu knots or twists.
The new law
On March 18th, the House passed the CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair). This legislation would ban employers from refusing to hire, firing or discriminating against workers based on their hairstyle or hair texture if it is associated with a specific national origin or race. While this law has not yet passed Senate, it could be a huge step for those who are facing discrimination in the workplace due to their hair or grooming.
Other grooming discrimination
Grooming discrimination can appear in other forms too. For example, requiring men to shave their facial hair or women to shave their legs may aggravate skin conditions, which might be considered an undue hardship.
Understanding grooming discrimination
Currently, grooming discrimination isn’t as big of an issue as other types of discrimination; however, if your employer requires you to do something that causes you an undue hardship or discriminates against your religion, it could be considered discrimination. In this situation, knowing your legal rights is essential.