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Politics & Government

Utah State Senator To Sponsor Bill Barring Natural Hair Discrimination At Work and School

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Utah Sen. Derek Kitchen is planning to sponsor a bill that would ban natural hair discrimination in schools or the workplace

Utah state Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, is working on a bill — the CROWN Act — to ban race-based hair discrimination in workplaces and schools.

Utah state Sen. Derek Kitchen, D-Salt Lake City, is working on a bill — the CROWN Act — to ban race-based hair discrimination in workplaces and schools.

Black women are 50% more likely to be sent home from work than white women because of their hair, according to a 2019 survey from Dove. And they’re 80% more likely to say they have to change their hair to fit in at the office.

Kitchen’s bill would prevent, for example, a Black person from being told to leave work for wearing their hair naturally or in protective styles like braids, he said.

“It's important to make sure that as we look at the structural racism that exists in our communities, that we aren't forcing Black people to change their hair in order to fit into white spaces and that their natural hair is beautiful and great just the way it is,” Kitchen said. “No person should be told that their natural way of being is inappropriate.”

In 2019, Tekulve Jackson-Vann, a worker in the Payson Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, said he was barred from working when he styled his hair in dreadlocks. He posted about it on social media, and within a day the Temple president changed his mind.

California became the first state to pass a law banning natural hair discrimination in 2019 and there are now seven states with one in place.

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