Michigan’s New Law Prohibiting Hair-Related Discrimination is Now Effective
On June 15, 2023, Michigan’s CROWN Act law became effective. Employers with dress code and grooming policies will want to take note of this legislation and make any needed adjustments to their policies and handbooks.
The CROWN Act
CROWN is an acronym for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. CROWN Act laws prohibit race-based hair discrimination in employment settings. While there are some variations between the laws that have passed, in general, CROWN Act laws protect traits historically associated or perceived to be associated with race, including hair textures and protective hairstyles. Common hairstyles that are specifically listed as protected include afros, bandu knots, braids, cornrows, locks, and twists.
Other States with CROWN Act Laws
CROWN Act laws are gaining traction across the country. Michigan joins the states of Arkansas (effective Aug. 1, 2023), Illinois (effective Jan. 1, 2023), Minnesota (effective Feb. 1, 2023), and Texas (effective Sept. 21, 2023) in enacting CROWN Act legislation this year. Other states to have passed versions of the CROWN Act include Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington. Additionally, localities in Arizona, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have also passed versions of the CROWN Act. Various other jurisdictions have CROWN Act legislation proposed, with many of them expected to pass and enact versions of the law.
Employers in the above jurisdictions may need to update employment policies and employee handbooks regarding dress code and grooming requirements. It’s important for employers to remember that even if the business does not have an office in any of the above jurisdictions, if employees are working remotely out of these jurisdictions, the jurisdiction’s laws may apply.
If you have any questions about the implications of the passage of the CROWN Act on your business or need help reviewing your employee handbooks or employment policies, please feel free to contact one of Honigman’s Labor and Employment Attorneys here.