Even though beauty should only be skin-deep, most individuals spend a great deal of time on their outward appearances. Indeed, the way you present yourself to the world says much about you. It might even allow you to pay homage to your cultural heritage or religious beliefs.
Not everyone is going to appreciate the way you choose to style your hair, of course. This may be especially true if your hairstyle has a distinct look. If your employer objects to your hair, though, you may be a victim of unlawful workplace discrimination.
California’s CROWN Act
According to reporting from CNN, California became the first state to protect hairstyles when it implemented the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act. This law prevents many employers from discriminating against employees or applicants who wear natural or cultural hairstyles.
It is important to remember that workplace discrimination does not have to involve termination of employment, a cut in pay or a demotion. Indeed, because most employers understand the dangers of being overtly discriminatory, workplace discrimination is often subtler. Put simply, if your employer treats you differently from other workers, you may have a valid discrimination claim.
Your legal rights
If your employer is inadvertently discriminating against you because of the way you choose to wear your hair, you may be able to stop the discrimination by educating him or her about California law. Still, you might not be able to change your boss’s actions, especially if he or she has discriminatory intent or some inherent bias.
Ultimately, to protect your job and your future career, it may be necessary to exercise all of your legal rights under state law.