Michigan – A Michigan Senate Committee passed the CROWN Act last week to protect Michiganders from discrimination in the work place based on wearing their natural hair.
The CROWN Act, also known as Senate Bill 90, was introduced by Sen. Sarah Anthony in 2019, and will now move to the full Senate for consideration since it was passed by the Michigan Civil Rights, Judiciary, and Public Safety.
Four 2020 studies conducted by researchers at Michigan State University found that Black women with natural hair styles were perceived as less professional and less competent. Black women with natural hair styles were also less likely to be recommended for a job interview than Black women with straightened hair and white women with curly hair. The studies also found that Black women with natural hair styles received more negative reviews on job evaluations when applying for positions with strong dress codes.
“As we continue the important effort to make our workplaces and our state as a whole a more welcoming place, protecting Black Michiganders against hair discrimination is a necessary and significant step,” said Sen. Anthony. “This bill even getting a hearing has been years in the making. But, as our new legislative leaders seek to better align our state’s laws with our values and the needs of our people—all people—I am confident this bill will continue to progress.”
Sen. Erika Geiss, Chair of the Michigan Legislative Black Caucus, said Michigan is one step closer to banning racial discrimination based on how someone wears their hair with the CROWN Act.
The CROWN Act is law in 20 U.S. states and 44 cities, and the U.S. Virgin Islands according to the CROWN Act’s website. Five states have not filed legislation for the act.