• New York City unveiled new legislature to racial discrimination directed at hairstyles in school, at work, and in public places.
  • New York’s City Commission will now be able to fines of up to $250,000 in cases where New York residents have experienced discrimination based on their appearances — particularly their hair.
  • The Commission may also impose internal policy changes within companies, where relevant.

Hair discrimination is now illegal in New York City

In a landmark decision, New York City has unveiled new legal guidelines to stamp out racial discrimination directed at hairstyles in school, at work, and in public places.

The New York City Human Rights Commission published the new legislature on Monday, with a broad aim to punish discrimination on the basis of physical appearance and, above all, to provide black people with more protection as regards their natural hair.

According to these guidelines, New Yorkers have the right to “preserve natural hair or hairstyles closely associated with their racial, ethnic or cultural identity”. They specifically mention “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state”.

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