The Michigan Senate recently passed the CROWN Act, which would ban hair-based discrimination in the workplace. Proponents of the bill are hopeful it can help correct the history of discrimination Afro-centric hairstyles have faced in the workplace.
A 2020 study conducted by Michigan State University found that Black women who wear their hair naturally are often seen as less professional, less competent and are less likely to be referred for job interviews.
If approved by the Michigan House and signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Michigan would become the 21st state to enact similar legislation seeking to protect a variety of hairstyles and hair textures while helping shift workplace culture around hair.
Michigan State Sen. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing), who sponsored the CROWN Act, joined Detroit Today to explain why legislation that bans hair discrimination is important, especially for Black women in the workplace.
Listen: How hair discrimination hurts the workplace
Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) is a State Senator representing Michigan’s 21st district and sponsor of the CROWN Act. She says Afro-centric hairstyles are often disadvantaged in many workplaces.
“We’ve heard from Black women who have been sent home because they are wearing their natural curls, or decided to stop chemically processing their hair,” says Anthony. “And it’s an honor to bring a voice to many of the individuals whose voices have not been heard here in the Capitol as it relates to hair-based discrimination.”