Most job providers have grooming standards that apply to all employees. Those grooming standards often include limitations on hair length and hairstyles. For example, restaurants often require kitchen workers and servers to either wear their hair short or use a hair net. Those precautions help prevent hairs from contaminating customers’ food.
Other job providers might have hair grooming standards to maintain what the employers consider to be a professional appearance. A professional appearance instills a sense of professionalism that customers or clients are more likely to notice.
Unfortunately, because hair varies from person to person, grooming standards could discriminate against some workers. When the hair-grooming standards create an inordinate hardship on workers who share common demographic traits, hair-based discrimination could occur.
What Are Examples of Hair Discrimination?
Many blacks and workers of other races have hair that is thicker and more curled. When hair-grooming standards force them to wear their hair other than in its natural state, discrimination might occur. The hair length certainly could be controlled, but requiring someone with tightly curled hair to try to comb it or wear it in a manner that is unnatural could result in discrimination. Hair discrimination could also involve facial hair.
A worker might have a legitimate reason to disregard hair-grooming standards due to naturally occurring hair, skin conditions, or other factors. If the employer punishes the employee or uses that as a basis for reducing hours or changing work assignments, that would be an example of hair discrimination.
Is Hair Discrimination Illegal in Pennsylvania?
The CROWN Act (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) is about protecting everyone’s human rights and would prohibit hair discrimination in Pennsylvania workplaces. Lawmakers are pushing for legislation to ban hair discrimination in the state.
Many other states, including New Jersey, have banned hair discrimination in the workplace. Currently, the federal government has no laws that address hair-based discrimination in the workplace.
What Should I Do if I am Experiencing Race Discrimination?
If you have reason to believe you are subjected to race discrimination, you should discuss that matter with your immediate supervisor. If addressing the matter with your employer does not result in a viable resolution, you should seek the help of an experienced employment lawyer.
Your attorney can review your situation and assist with filing a complaint with a city or state agency that has jurisdiction in the location where you work. Your attorney could also determine whether or not there are one or more potential causes of action for filing a discrimination lawsuit against your employer.
Philadelphia Employment Attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Will Stand Up for You if You Are Experiencing Workplace Discrimination
If you have reason to believe you have experienced workplace discrimination, contact one of our Philadelphia employment attorneys at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We are located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients in South Jersey and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Northeast Philadelphia, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Lehigh County, and Montgomery County.