On December 19, 2019, Governor Murphy signed the “Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act” (CROWN Act). The Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against individuals at work, school or in public places due to the individual’s hair appearance. The CROWN Act amends the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and specifically prohibits discrimination on the basis of “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles.” The amendment defines “protective hairstyles” to include “such hairstyles as braids, locks and twists,” but does not limit the definition to those styles. Please note that the law is not limited to hair-it prohibits discrimination based on “traits” associated with race including but not limited to hair.
The law took effect immediately!
So, no your employee cannot come to work with purple hair unless they can argue that such hair color is associated with a particular race.
TAKEAWAY: Review your company's dress code policy ASAP.
If you are an employer with questions about the CROWN Act, contact any member of the Wilentz Employment Law Team at 732-352-9858.
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