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Virginia Becomes the Fourth State to Ban Discrimination on the Basis of Hairstyles

On March 3, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed into law HB 1514, which amends the Virginia Human Rights Act to prohibit discrimination on the basis of hairstyles. Specifically, the bill amends the definition of discrimination “because of race” or “on the basis of race” to include discrimination “because of or on the basis of traits historically associated with race, including hair texture, hair type, and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks and twists.”

In enacting this legislation, Virginia has become the fourth state in the nation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of hairstyles. In 2019, CaliforniaNew York and New Jersey enacted their own versions of the law. Additionally, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Montgomery County, Maryland, have implemented local versions of the law.

Employers in Virginia subject to the Virginia Human Rights Act, which applies to employers with more than five but less than 15 employees, should review their current appearance and grooming policies to ensure compliance with the new law.

© 2022 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume X, Number 64
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About this Author

Guy Brenner, Labor Attorney, Proskauer Rose, arbitration proceedings Lawyer
Partner

Guy Brenner is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Non-Compete & Trade Secrets Group. He has extensive experience representing employers in both single-plaintiff and class action matters, as well as in arbitration proceedings. He also regularly assists federal government contractors with the many special employment-related compliance challenges they face.

Guy represents employers in all aspects of employment and labor litigation and counseling, with an emphasis on non-compete and trade secrets issues,...

202-416-6830
Caroline L. Guensberg Associate Labor & Employment Employment Litigation & Arbitration

Caroline Guensberg earned her J.D. from George Washington University Law School, graduating with honors. While attending law school, Caroline was a notes editor of the Federal Circuit Bar Journal and had her note published in the journal. Caroline was also a member of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Board and served as a writing fellow and a dean’s fellow. In addition, Caroline worked as a legal intern for the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Federal Mine Safety Commission.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Caroline was a judicial clerk for the Connecticut...

202-416-5873
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