Dane Co. ordinance amendment proposed would prohibit discrimination of protective hairstyles

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Published: Dec. 22, 2020 at 5:15 PM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - An ordinance amendment introduced recently to the Dane County Board aims to prohibit discrimination of protective hairstyles.

Board supervisor Sheila Stubbs introduced the ordinance amendment, which she noted Tuesday builds on the work of the Creating a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act. According to a news release, the CROWN Act seeks to ensure protection against discrimination for race-based hairstyles by extending protection to hair textures and styles such as braids, locs and twists.

Stubbs said it is important to break down barriers that can lead to further discrimination in the workplace.

“We must not allow corporate grooming hairstyles practices to be the standard for everyone,” Stubbs said. “Braids, loc and twist are an ancient and popular skill in the African American community.”

Stubbs noted that a study by Dove in partnership with the CROWN Coalition found that Black women are one and a half times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair. The study also found Black women are 83% more likely to report being judged harshly on their looks than other women.

The CROWN Coalition is made up of multiple organizations including Dove, National Urban League and Color of Change.

Stubbs explained that if the ordinance amendment is approved, it would prohibit discrimination on traits that are historically associated with race, such as hairstyle. The ordinance amendment has been referred to the Executive Committee for action before it goes to the full board.

Seven states including Colorado, California and New York have signed the CROWN Act into law so far, Stubbs added.

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