October 28, 2021

Volume XI, Number 301

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With the CROWN Act, Kansas City Amends Definition of Race Discrimination to Include Hair Texture and Style

On October 1, 2020, the Kansas City, Missouri City Council unanimously voted to enact the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair” Act (“CROWN Act”).  The CROWN Act addresses discrimination based on natural hair or particular hairstyles traditionally tied to race.  In short, the CROWN ACT sets forth that “hair discrimination targeting hairstyles associated with race is racial discrimination.”

The CROWN Act, Ordinance No. 200837, modifies the definition of “Race” to include “traits historically associated with race including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”  The CROWN Act further defines “protective hairstyles” to include, though not limited to, “such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.”  In its preamble, the CROWN Act also identifies afros, making it clear that they are a protected hairstyle as well.

While Kansas City may be one of the first cities in the country to pass such an ordinance, it is just one of many jurisdictions passing similar expansions of race discrimination protections — including state laws in California, Virginia, New York, Colorado, Washington, and Maryland. 

The CROWN Act goes into effect on November 1, 2020.  If you have any questions regarding the CROWN Act or expanded race discrimination protections in other jurisdictions, please contact your Polsinelli attorney.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaNational Law Review, Volume X, Number 281
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About this Author

Associate

Kaitlin (Kate) Gallen defends employers at all stages of litigation, including in state and federal courts and administrative agencies. She has drafted substantive briefs and coordinated responses in both class action and mass action contexts. Kate assist clients with a broad range of legal services including:

  • Employment advice and training
  • Employment litigation defense
  • Employee benefits and executive compensation counsel
  • ERISA litigation
  • ...
816.360.4136
Matthew Linnabary Employment Attorney Pollsinelli Law Firm
Associate

Matthew P.F. Linnabary is dedicated to helping clients efficiently and effectively address their employment compliance and litigation needs. A business-minded attorney, he works closely with clients to build relationships, understand their operational and management challenges and support the firm’s efforts to develop client strategies to meet their individual needs.

Prior to working at Polsinelli, he attended Notre Dame Law School, where he received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Administrative Law, Energy Law, Deposition Skills, Constitutional Law II, and Freedom of Speech,...

816.572.4692
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