On Wednesday, February 2, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the CROWN Act banning discrimination based on a person’s natural hair texture or style into law. The CROWN Act stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair and ensures that hair discrimination is legally included as a form of racial discrimination under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
While the Minnesota Human Rights Act had already prohibited discrimination based on race, the CROWN Act clarifies that no Minnesotan should be discriminated against because of their natural hair texture or style. The CROWN Act specifically amends the definition of “race” in Minn. Stat. Section 363A.03, Subdivision 36(a) to state: “’Race’ is inclusive of traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locs, and twists.”
The amendment does not provide protection from differential treatment due to other aspects of personal appearance such as beards, tattoos, piercings, or artificial hair coloring. The CROWN act applies to protect those at work or at school. Some employers include provisions in their employee handbooks regarding “personal appearance” especially for employees in the service industry. These provisions should be reviewed for compliance with the new law. Minnesota joins several other states that have adopted similar provisions.
Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. can assist employers navigate the implications of the CROWN act and compliance with the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
About the Firm: The Minneapolis employment law attorneys of Trepanier MacGillis Battina P.A. represent employers and executives with navigating discrimination claims. The attorneys of TMB can be reached at 612.455.0500. TMB is a business law firm located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.