If you were ever discriminated against for a hairstyle that is commonly or historically associated with your race by an employer or school staff member and you live in Colorado, you’ll be happy to know that Governor Jared Polis recently signed into law the CROWN Act of 2020. The CROWN Act, which stands for “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair” became an official bill for Colorado after it gained its final signature from Polis on March 6, 2020.
House Bill 20-1048, which is how the State is referring to the law, protects against discrimination on the basis of one’s traits, particularly their hair. This means a person cannot be discriminated against because of their “hair texture, hair type, or a protective hairstyle that is commonly or historically associated with their race, such as braids, locs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, Bantu knots, Afros, and headwraps.” The bill not only protects individuals from hair discrimination at work and school, but also in the context of housing, public accommodations, and advertising.
After Polis signed the bill, he had this to say: “When we look at how we can end societal, legal discrimination against marginalized communities, especially communities of color, it’s important to know that discriminating against people’s hair has often been a stand-in for discriminating against their race. We’re proud to say that today that will no longer occur in the State of Colorado” [Source: 9 News]. Aside from Polis, the bill was also sponsored by Representative Leslie Herod, Representative Janet Buckner (D-Aurora) and Senator Rhonda Fields (D-Aurora).
While it is evident that many are pleased with the progression the state has made at ending hair discrimination, Herod expressed her gratitude for the new bill by saying “This bill is for every person who has damaged their hair with a relaxer or burnt their scalp with a hot comb, for those who have spent countless hours and dollars to conform to Eurocentric beauty standards. Everyone should be their true beautiful selves, feel proud of their culture and heritage, and be celebrated for their self-expression.”
Colorado has joined California, New York, New Jersey, and Virginia in adopting the CROWN Act or a similar version of it.
Are you a victim of workplace discrimination? Do you live in Denver, CO?
If you believe your employer discriminated against you because of your race, it may benefit you to consult with an employment discrimination attorney in Denver, CO. Up until now, you may have been harboring ill feelings but weren’t sure how to address the issue. Rather than allow your employer to get away with discriminating against you, why not contact Anderson Barkley at 720-506-1764 and discuss your situation with an experienced Denver, CO employment discrimination attorney.