Hair Discrimination is Now Illegal in New York

Officials from the New York Human Rights Commission have announced a ban on discrimination on the basis of hair type. 

The much-deserved win is setting a precedent around the country in regard to Black women primarily being the target of racial bias by choosing to wear their natural hair. There are still no federal laws which protect them from discrimination even though it has been heavily-documented.

The new legal guided given by the state says: “A person’s hair is as protected as their race, ethnicity, religion, gender identity or other cultural factor.”

The law applies to “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.” 

The guidelines are set to be enforced, according to the New York Times .

Under the new law, any discrimination committed against a person’s hair or hairstyle at work, school, or in public places will now be considered racial discrimination, and victims of such discrimination will be able to seek damages.

Those found in violation of the law face penalties up to $250,000.

According to commissioner and chairwoman of the New York City Commission on Human Rights, Carmelyn P. Malalis, the law was put in place to protect all citizens within the city of New York.

She did emphasize that Black Americans faced indiscriminately more bias in the workplace on the basis of “racial stereotypes that say black hairstyles are unprofessional or improper.” Malalis, who is the daughter of Filipino immigrants, was appointed to the position in February 2015 by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

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