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Akron council to ask state to protect workers and students against discrimination by hairstyle

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Posted at 10:50 AM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 10:50:42-05

AKRON, Ohio — On Monday night, Akron City Council members passed legislation asking state lawmakers to make it illegal for employers to punish or fire workers based on someone’s hair style, according to News 5 media partner Ohio.com.

Recently the CROWN laws, which have been passed in California, New York and New Jersey, prohibits hair discrimination at work, in schools and other public places. There are 22 other states and several cities considering similar legislation.

“Although there are federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based off race, there is no federal law prohibiting them discriminating against natural hair,” said Akron Ward 5 Councilwoman Tara Samples to Ohio.com.

According to Snell & Wilmer, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 categorically bans racial discrimination in the workplace. Courts assessing the claims have historically distinguished between whether physical traits are “immutable” or “artificial.” By applying this standard, it’s not uncommon for courts to hold in favor of employers that rejected applicants with natural hair, according to Snell & Wilmer.

State Rep. Tavia Galonski, who represents south Akron and Barberton, said there is no Ohio CROWN bill introduced, yet.

More on this story by Ohio.com here.