In recent years, lawmakers have started to address a subtle, but nevertheless insidious, form of race discrimination. That discrimination occurs when employers, as part of their dress and grooming policies, forbid the wearing of certain hairstyles that represent “natural” hairstyles of African-Americans. Complying with these rules can be not only emotionally stressful, but also physically painful and financially expensive for some African-American workers.
Lawmakers in New York and California have begun debate on ending this practice. Now, New Jersey is taking steps to follow suit. A bill is pending in the New Jersey Senate that would include discrimination based on these types of hairstyles among the forms of illegal discrimination barred by the Law Against Discrimination, nj.com has reported. Whether or not you are someone who potentially faces this kind of discrimination, the introduction of this bill is a reminder of the importance of having an experienced New Jersey employment attorney on your side who is up-to-date on all the most recent changes and evolutions of discrimination law in the Garden State.
The senate bill, as it is currently written, would ban discrimination based upon “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.” (A “protective” hairstyle refers to any hairdo that preserves hair from damage. For African-Americans, that can mean many styles, including twists, braids, Afros and Bantu knots, among others.)