X

Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Equality concept. Man cleaning part In in word Inequality written on glass board, copy space By Prostock-studio/Shutterstock Photo: Prostock-studio via Shutterstock

It has been a year since New York City expanded the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) and released legal enforcement guidance (the Guidance) to prohibit employers from enacting “discriminatory policies that force Black employees to straighten, relax or otherwise manipulate their hair to conform to employer expectations.” See generally NYC Commission on Human Rights Legal Enforcement Guidance on Race Discrimination on the Basis of Hair, New York City Commission on Human Rights (February 2019). Covered employers (those with four or more employees in most cases) may be liable under the NYCHRL for policies and procedures that ban certain hairstyles or require the alteration of natural hair because, according to the New York City Commission on Human Rights (NYCCHR), such policies “subject Black employees to disparate treatment.” According to the Guidance, such hairstyles are “an inherent part of Black identity.” The NYCCHR makes clear that the Guidance does not only apply to Black employees, but extends to communities that have a “religious or cultural connection with uncut hair, including Native Americans, Sikhs, Muslims, Jews, Nazirites or Rastafarians.” In general, the NYCCHR deems unlawful grooming or appearance policies that target communities of color, religious minorities or other communities protected under the NYCHRL, including individuals protected on the basis of disability, age or gender. Employers may impose requirements related to maintaining a work appropriate appearance, but may not do so in a way that is discriminatory or targets specific hair textures or hair styles. Furthermore, if an employer has legitimate health or safety concerns, it may consider alternative means to meet the concerns but must do so prior to imposing a ban or restriction on employee hairstyles.

Since the Guidance was released, there has been at least one settlement promulgated by the NYCCHR on behalf of a group of employees of a hair salon who alleged that their employer told Black employees that the employees’ afros and box braids did not fit the salon’s upscale image. As part of the settlement, the salon agreed to create a multicultural internship program to provide professional opportunities to hairstylists from underrepresented groups.

This content has been archived. It is available through our partners, LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law.

To view this content, please continue to their sites.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Not a Bloomberg Law Subscriber?
Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law are third party online distributors of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® and Bloomberg Law customers are able to access and use ALM's content, including content from the National Law Journal, The American Lawyer, Legaltech News, The New York Law Journal, and Corporate Counsel, as well as other sources of legal information.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]

Dig Deeper

Law Firms Mentioned

 
Reprints & Licensing
Mentioned in a Law.com story?

License our industry-leading legal content to extend your thought leadership and build your brand.

 

ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2021 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.