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Discrimination based on natural hairstyles target of bill

While it can be difficult for some people to understand, there are many instances of discrimination based on how some people wear their hair.

Natural hairstyle discrimination is very real and if two Tennessee legislators have their way, a new bill would prevent it by amending the state's Human Rights Act. Representative Karen D. Camper and Senator Raumesh Akbari introduced HB1549, SB2814 late last month. The bill is known as the Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act, also known as the CROWN Act.

If passed, the bill would protect certain natural hairstyles including twists, locks and braids. The bill has gone on to the Senate on its second consideration. The Senate Commerce and Labor Committee known has it under review.

In addition to protecting natural hairstyles, the CROWN Act also states, "the physical or cultural characteristics associated with a certain race, including, but not limited to, hair texture or protective styles."

Have you been discriminated against because of your dreadlocks, fade or even just your shampooed and airdried natural hairstyle? Have you been denied a promotion, been demoted or singled out to avoid contact with customers because your supervisor or employer feels that you are not a "good look" for the company? Discrimination isn't always based upon someone's sex, age or race. A person's hairstyle that represents their culture or religion should not be grounds for discrimination or retaliation.

If you believe that you have experienced such actions against you, consider speaking to someone who can act as your legal advocate. An attorney can explain your legal options and help you proceed with a civil claim.

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