The New Your City Commission on Human Rights has released new guidelines indicating that the targeting of people because of their hair or hairstyle, at work, school or in public places, will be considered racial discrimination.
The law will apply to everyone but is particularly aimed at remedying the disparate treatment of black people. In particular, the new guidelines specifically state that it is the right of New Yorkers to maintain their “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”
These new guidelines will give legal recourse to individuals who are harassed, threatened, punished, demoted, or fired because of the texture or style of their hair. The city can levy up to $250,000 in penalties on a company found to be in violation, and there is no cap on civil damages that can be awarded to the victim. The NYCCHR can also force internal policy changes and rehirings.
These guidelines are believed to be the first of their kind to specifically address and protect hairstyle. Under federal law, there is no legal precedent to protect against discrimination based on hair.
If you believe you have been the victim of race discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, please consider contacting the lawyers at the Bullman Law Firm. We represent workers, not employers. Our number is (503) 987-5000. There is no charge for your call.