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Governor to Sign Bill to Ban Hair Discrimination

By on December 31, 2019 in Legislation with 0 Comments

New Jersey bill entitled Create a Respectful and Open Workspace for Natural Hair Act (“CROWN Act”) was passed by the Senate on December 16, 2019 and approved by the Assembly on December 19, 2019. The CROWN Act would prohibit discrimination on the basis of hairstyle, type, or texture, which are traits historically associated with race. This bill, which further addresses discrimination under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“NJLAD”), will head to the Governor for signature.

The NJLAD, which applies to schools and work places, would be amended to specifically define “race” to include “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyle.” The CROWN Act defines “protective hair styles” to include “braids, locks, and twists.”

The CROWN Act follows similar legislation in California and New York banning hair discrimination and was prompted, in part, by an incident involving a New Jersey high school wrestler having to choose whether to shave his dreadlocks or forfeit a wrestling match.

The text of the proposed law can be found here.

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Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev

About the Author

About the Author:

Sanmathi (Sanu) Dev, Esq. concentrates her practice on the representation of boards of education and charter schools in all areas of school law including: labor and employment, special education, Section 504, student discipline, FERPA, Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act, student residency, civil rights, tenure, OPRA, and OPMA. In connection with these representations, she is experienced in handling matters before State and Federal courts, including the Office of Administrative Law. Ms. Dev is an experienced special education litigator and defends school districts in due process hearings from inception through trial. In addition, she has handled matters before governmental agencies, including the U.S. Office for Civil Rights and New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. Ms. Dev routinely conducts training and seminars, drafts policies and manuals, and provides strategic advice to school administrators regarding school law issues. Ms. Dev was recently recognized as one of South Jersey’s Awesome Attorneys as published by South Jersey Magazine. She is licensed to practice law in New Jersey, the District Court for the District of New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

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