Los Angeles Office Location
Hennig Ruiz & Singh
Not sure if you have a legal case? Call us to talk to a lawyer:
Free Consultations
One Of The Most Successful Workers' Rights Trial Law Firms In California

Can employers discriminate against you for your hairstyle?

Most of us know discrimination in the workplace is wrong and believe we’d know it when we see it. Unfortunately, there are subtle forms of discrimination that can be undetected but are just as damaging for employees.

The California legislature recognizes this possibility and has introduced Senate Bill 188 to update the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The bill aims to add a person’s hairstyle and hair texture to the list of things that cannot be used to determine someone’s employment or housing.

The act currently prohibits discrimination based on “specified personal characteristics,” which include race, religious beliefs, sex and age. SB 188 would expand the characteristics to “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, and would define protective hairstyles for purposes of these provisions.”

A similar update happened in New York City

The New York City Commission on Human Rights recently passed its own guidelines prohibiting similar discrimination at work, school or other public places. These guidelines provide legal recourse for anyone who is harassed, threatened, punished, demoted or fired for their hairstyle or hair texture. The commission can levy up to $250,000 on defendants in violation and there is no cap on damages.

Discrimination against certain hairstyles and hair textures has historically led to the unfair treatment of black individuals, particularly black women. The guidelines passed in New York City are based on the argument that hair is inherent to one’s race and associated with “racial, ethnic, or cultural identities.”

Discrimination, whether blatant or through microaggressions, is always wrong. Hopefully if this bill passes, California employees will have stronger protections and opportunities for recourse if their hairstyle or hair texture leads to them being treated differently at work.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
  • Super lawyers
  • California Employment Lawyers Association
  • Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles

What Our Clients Say About Us

  1. I needed great attorneys in a short period of time, it was an emergency situation. Some research led me to the Hennig, Ruiz & Singh. We spoke on the phone and they had me come into the office and started on my case immediately. They got me exactly what I wanted and did it in the shortest amount of time possible. They were caring, fair and extremely good at what they do. I definitely would recommend them to anyone. -Scott Rooney

  2. If you are looking for legal representation I would suggest for you to consider Hennig, Ruiz & Singh. Put succinctly, their legal team was intelligent, hard working, responsive, and very knowledgeable throughout our time working together. While I of course cannot divulge details about the assistance that the firm provided for me, I can and will say that their representation was pivotal and changed my life for the better beyond words... -Shane Guglielmo

  3. I went to this firm to have a separation letter reviewed and met a young lawyer named Janet Hong. She was extremely friendly, professional, thorough and quick. She reviewed the documentation promptly and gave me actionable advice. I was able to resolve everything quickly. I would not hesitate to recommend Janet to anyone seeking legal services. -Brendan Hagerty

Schedule a Free Consultation

Ready To Start Protecting Your Rights? Call 213-985-1305

Not Sure Whether You Need Lawyer?

Answer a few questions to see whether you have a case.
Get Started Here

Office Location

Hennig Ruiz & Singh
3600 Wilshire Blvd.
Suite 1908
Los Angeles, CA 90010

Toll Free: 800-260-6542
Fax: (213) 310-8302
Map & Directions

Free Consultations

Contact Us