HAIRSTYLE DISCRIMINATION BANNED « Law Offices of Timothy Bowles | Top Employment Law Firm in Los Angeles


New California Law Takes Effect January 1, 2020

California law has long-prohibited workplace racial discrimination against employees and applicants. The state is now the first to link natural hairstyles to race, thus protecting their wearers from disparate treatment.

The Legislature based passage of revised Government Code 12926 on a finding that workplace dress and grooming codes prohibiting “protective hairstyles” have had a negative impact against African Americans. Such policies were more likely to deter Black applicants from applying and to burden or punish Black employees.

Effective January 1, 2020, the new law will prohibit California employers with five or more on payroll from discriminating against workers for their natural hairstyles:

  • “Race” “is inclusive of traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”
  • “Protective hairstyles” includes, but is not limited to, “such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.”

Prevention of race discrimination claims begins with educating management and workers alike through training and well-written, updated workplace dress code policy and protocols.

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For further information, please contact Tim Bowles, Cindy Bamforth or Helena Kobrin.

Cindy Bamforth

July 11, 2019