Do Some Employees Experience Hair Discrimination? You Make The Call

Studies show Black women are 30 percent more likely than other women to be sent home from the workplace due to their hairstyle and receive a formal grooming policy violation.

A study by Dove, in partnership with Color of Change and the Center on Law and Poverty, among other organizations, revealed Black women are 80 percent more likely to change their hairstyle to meet expectations at work than non-Black women. They are also 83 percent more likely to be harshly judged about their hairstyles and 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from the workplace because of their hair.

Black women were also rated lower on "job readiness" because of their hairstyles. Study participants were shown an image of a Black woman and a white woman, both wearing the same hairstyle. When asked to rate their job readiness, the white woman was rated 25 percent higher despite having the exact same hairstyle as the Black woman. Protective hairstyles such as locs, braids, and bantu knots were rated the lowest on a scale of "job readiness".

Experts say societal norms and organizational grooming policies unfairly impact women of color in the workplace, potentially leading to discrimination or harassment risk. They recommend that organizations investigate whether they do business in a state that has enacted the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2022 (CROWN Act). The Act ensures protection against hair discrimination in the workplace and in K-12 public and charter schools. As of August 2022, 18 states have enacted the CROWN Act. A federal bill is now being considered in the Senate. Matt Gonzales "CROWN Act: Does Your State Prohibit Hair Discrimination?" (Aug. 18, 2022); The CROWN Coalition "New Dove Study Confirms Workplace Bias Against Hairstyles Impacts Black Women's Ability To Celebrate Their Natural Beauty" (May 01, 2019).

So, the question for our readers is: Do you think some employees experience hair discrimination?

Please take the poll. Subscribe and listen to our RiskTrendsTM Trusted Insight Podcast to hear discussions regarding the responses of our readers to the poll question in our weekly "You Make The Call" articles, as well as discussions on other emerging workplace risks.

Here is the opinion of one of the McCalmon editorial staff:


Jack McCalmon, Esq.

Hair discrimination is race and color discrimination. Obviously, race and color discrimination exist, so it makes sense that the trigger of the discrimination may be hair.


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