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Can my employer dictate what hairstyle I wear?

You may have had your hairstylist put a weave in your hair for years. But you’re ready for a new look and ready to rock a natural hairstyle. You decide to grow out your afro or put cornrow braids in your hair. Then, the manager at the restaurant where you work asks you to change your hairstyle because the new looks is “unprofessional.” He asks you go back to your old do. Is that acceptable? Is it discrimination?

Discrimination rules in New York

In the last few years, the nation has taken a harder look at race and racial discrimination. Raising awareness about allowing people of color to wear natural hairstyles at work and at school has become a part of that. As a result, in 2019, New York became the second state to pass a bill protecting employees’ abilities to wear natural hairstyles. Proponents of the bill noted that the bill will allow black employees, particularly women, freedom to have natural hair texture and protective hairstyles, including wearing their hair in dreadlocks, braids, Banto knots and twists. In the past, some employers deemed these hairstyles unprofessional, unfairly targeting minority employees.

The new law also protects students from facing racial discrimination over their natural hairstyles.

When facing discrimination at work

If you face discrimination at work over your hairstyle or race, you should report the discrimination to your company’s human resources department. If you feel your discrimination complaint isn’t being taken seriously, you may want to consult an employment law attorney.

The law protects employees from facing racial discrimination and harassment in the workplace. You deserve to be treated fairly and with respect, even when it comes to what hairstyle you wear.

Dedicated Litigators And Knowledgeable Legal Advocates

The Attorneys of Katz Melinger PLLC