May 29, 2024


The Legal System

Illinois Human Rights Act Amendment Protects Natural Hair


Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has signed into law the “Create a Respectful and Open Place of work for Normal Hair” Act, or CROWN Act, which prohibits hair discrimination.

The CROWN Act amends the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) to provide that the IHRA’s definition of “race,” and as a result the protections afforded to race as a protected attribute, involves “traits involved with race, like, but not limited to, hair texture and protecting hairstyles this sort of as braids, locks, and twists.”

The modification is effective January 1, 2023, and implement to the employment, housing, monetary transactions, and public lodging sectors. To get ready, providers need to assess their present grooming and physical appearance insurance policies to assure compliance. Requiring employees to put on specific hairstyles, or even prohibiting hair of a selected size, conceivably could operate afoul of the Illinois CROWN Act.

The textual content of the CROWN Act handles hair features “associated with race, together with, but not confined to,” hair texture and protecting variations as examples, not as an exhaustive record of CROWN Act-guarded features. The IHRA is made up of other provisions that may possibly have an impact on a company’s practices. The IHRA states that almost nothing in its checklist of prohibited forms of discrimination “prohibits an employer from enacting a costume code or grooming coverage that might contain limitations on apparel, clothes or facial hair to preserve workplace security or food items sanitation.” The IHRA also features a bona fide qualification exemption that permits hiring or deciding on concerning people for bona fide occupational skills.

Illinois joins much more than a dozen states to have adopted this sort of a regulation. In addition, the federal CROWN ACT bill is pending in Congress, following the development in the states. (For information, see our article, House Passes CROWN Act Ban on Pure Hair Discrimination in the Workplace.)

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