Legal Update Memo No. 16-2019 – Crown Act (SB 188) Bans Workplace Discrimination on the Basis of Certain Hairstyles (K-12)

Download pdf: 16-2019 – Crown Act (SB 188) Bans Workplace Discrimination on the Basis of Certain Hairstyles w attachment (ERA)

Senate Bill (“SB”) 188 (2019), affectionately known as the “Crown Act,” amends section 212.1 of the Education Code and section 12926 of the Government Code to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of certain hairstyles historically associated with race. A copy of SB 188 is enclosed with this Legal Update for your reference.

Existing California law prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in hiring, promoting, and terminating individuals. The Crown Act updates the definition of race to include traits historically associated with race, including “hair texture” and “protective hairstyles”.[1] “Protective hairstyles” is defined to include, but not be limited to, hairstyles such as braids, locks, and twists.

Note the Crown Act applies to “natural” hair texture and hairstyles, including afros, braids, twists, and locks, but not necessarily to hairstyles by choice – such as outrageously colored hair.

Please contact our office with questions regarding this Legal Update or any other legal matter.

Legal Update written by Ellie R. Austin, Associate General Counsel.

The information in this Legal Update is provided as a summary of law and is not intended as legal advice.  Application of the law may vary depending on the particular facts and circumstances at issue.  We, therefore, recommend that you consult legal counsel to advise you on how the law applies to your specific situation.

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All rights reserved.  However, SCLS grants permission to any current SCLS client to use, reproduce, and distribute this Legal Update in its entirety for the client’s own non-commercial purposes.

[1] Cal. Educ. Code §§ 212.1(b), (c); Cal. Gov. Code §§ 12926(w), (x).