New York City Human Rights Commission

New York City Human Rights Commission

NYC Aims To Stop Hairstyle Discrimination

February 18, 2019 - 1:31 pm
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NEW YORK (AP) -- The city doesn't want people to have their hairstyles held against them, and it has unveiled novel anti-discrimination guidelines.

The city Human Rights Commission released the guidelines Monday. First reported by The New York Times , they're believed to be the first such measures nationwide.

They enable people to seek fines and other remedies if they've been harassed or punished in workplaces, schools or public spaces because of their hair texture or style.

The guidance says New Yorkers have the right to "maintain natural hair or hairstyles that are closely associated with their racial, ethnic or cultural identities.''

Cornell professor Noliwe Rooks, who has focused much of her career on the racial implicatiosn of beauty and fashion, said "It's just not even unusual anymore to hear of an airline or a hotel chain, a corporate setting, headhunters who will go into work training things and say do not wear these natural hair styles if you want to apply to a Fortune 500 company."

The protections apply to everyone but were prompted largely by what the commission calls ``racist stereotypes that black hairstyles are unprofessional.''

Hair nets can still be required for health and safety reasons.