The original spark may not have come from a New Jersey workplace, but the final outcome will be something that will benefit thousands upon thousands of New Jersey workers. That outcome is that, as nj.gov reported, on Dec. 19, 2019, New Jersey became the third state to ban discrimination based upon a person’s natural hairstyle when Governor Murphy signed the CROWN Act into law. This is an extremely important new law for workers, many of whom in the past have been forced to choose between taking costly and sometimes drastic measures to alter their hair or else face workplace punishment or even termination due to their failure to conform to workplace grooming rules.
As several lawmakers have pointed out recently, no one should face adverse action in employment simply because of the way in which their hair grows naturally. Now, the law will make it clear that imposing such unfair rules is against the law and entitles the worker to pursue financial compensation in court with the assistance of a New Jersey race discrimination attorney.
One year to the day before the governor signed the act, on Dec. 19, 2018, a South Jersey high school wrestler was on the verge of competing when he was approached with what many would consider a “Hobson’s choice.” A referee told the student that he must shave off his dreadlocks, or else he must forfeit his match. The student eventually wrestled, but not before suffering the humiliation of having his head shaved right there in the gym. That terrible incident served as the “flashpoint” that set New Jersey on the road to banning discrimination based on natural hair.