(Photo courtesy of Holly J. Mitchell)
A bill defending a person’s hairstyle or hair texture from discrimination is advancing in the California Senate. State Senator Holly J. Mitchell, representing Culver City and parts of Los Angeles is sponsoring the bill and says protections are needed to give people of color the same opportunities as everybody else.
Senate Bill 188 was approved in the Judiciary Committee this week 7-0. It would add to the list of things the California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects. Employers would be banned from enforcing policies surrounding “race neutral” grooming, policies that critics say disproportionately impact people of color. Mitchell says federal anti-discrimination laws defend afros, but are silent on other hairstyles commonly worn by black men and women, such as braids, dreadlocks and twists. If passed, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act would include those characteristics which already includes race, religion, sex and age.