Pritzker Signs CROWN Act into Law Protecting Against Hair Discrimination

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Governor Pritzker signed the CROWN Act into law, codifying protections for Illinoisans discriminated against due to hairstyles historically associated with specific racial groups. The act, which stands for Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair, categorizes traits such as hair texture or protective styling as race-based and therefore protected under bans against racial discrimination. In 2021, Governor Pritzker signed the Jett Hawkins Act, introduced by Senator Mike Simmons, which banned hairstyle discrimination in Illinois schools. The CROWN Act, introduced by Senator Mattie Hunter, expands these protections to other covered situations under the Illinois Human Rights Act, including employment, housing, financial transactions, and public accommodations. Illinois is one of only a handful of states to pass the CROWN Act, a national version of which passed the U.S. House of Representatives but has failed to advance in the U.S. Senate. The bill expands and clarifies the definition of race to include traits commonly associated with a race, including by not limited to these hairstyles and textures. This law goes into effect on January 1, 2023.

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