California bill SB 188 aims to end discrimination against people wearing natural hairstyles like braids, dreadlocks, twists

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019
CA bill aims to end discrimination against those with natural hairstyles like dreadlocks
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California lawmakers are working on a bill to end discrimination against people who wear a natural hairstyle like braids, dreadlocks and twists.

California lawmakers are working on a bill to protect people from being discriminated against because of their hair.

The so-called "Crown Act" would make it illegal for employers to enforce policies surrounding "race neutral" grooming or to discriminate against people wearing natural or protective styles -- like braids, dreadlocks and twists -- in the workplace or housing.

SB 188 backed by California Sen. Holly Mitchell -- who wears a natural hairstyle herself. Mitchell represents the 30th Senate District, which includes Culver City and parts of Los Angeles.

"There are any number of court cases that we'll talk about in judiciary committee that will suggest it is a problem for employees across this country and across the state," Mitchell said.

"She had a lot of trouble selling houses when she had her hair in twists. And then when she took it down and pressed it and had it straight, she sold houses just like that," said Chalyss Evans, a California student, about an incident that happened to her friend who is a realtor.

Supporters said certain policies disproportionately impact people of color, and the bill would help protect "cultural identity."