You’ll never guess which state has joined NY and CA by banning grooming and hairstyle discrimination at work

USA New Jersey location map.svg

By AlexrkOwn work, CC BY 3.0, Link

Water is wet. Grass is green. And, yes, New Jersey remains the employee-rights capital of the East.

Actually, since we’re talking about New Jersey, I really should have said ‘wooder’ is wet for the South Jersey folks and ‘wourder’ is wet for everyone above Trenton. But, I digress.

Back in October, I blogged here about this “Guidance on Race Discrimination Based on Hairstyle,” that the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) issued. The purpose of the Guidance was “to explain when treating people differently due to their hairstyle may violate the state’s anti-discrimination laws and to help prevent such discrimination in the future.”

You were warned.

Yesterday, Governor Phil Murphy announced that he had signed S3945, also known as the “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act” (CROWN Act). The CROWN Act amends New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination to clarify that race discrimination includes discrimination based on “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.” “Protective hairstyles” include, but are not limited to, such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.

Serendipitously, my friend Janette Levey Frisch had a killer blog post yesterday about hairstyle and grooming discrimination, which I suggest you check out. Janette covers this topic with much broader perspective beyond the Garden State.

New Jersey’s new law takes effect right away.

On the laundry list of tasks for local employers to complete by the end of the year, add to this, this, this, and this (which you should have already completed), and this, updating employee handbooks to clarify that race includes “hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyle.”

“Doing What’s Right – Not Just What’s Legal”