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Pennsylvania House of Representatives
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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: September 20, 2019 03:43 PM
From: Representative Joanna E. McClinton and Rep. Summer Lee
To: All House members
Subject: Hair and Hairstyle Discrimination
Have you ever thought about changing your hairstyle for a job interview or been told that your hair or hairstyle is not professional or appropriate? Have you ever been denied access to a school, social venue, or job solely based on your type of hair or hairstyle? If not, then consider yourself lucky. Far too often, minorities – and particularly African Americans – are subjected to these kinds of incidents; and although strides have been made to eradicate discrimination, it still exists so there is still work to be done.

We respectfully ask for your support for legislation we intend to introduce that is similar to the Crown Act that was recently signed into law in California. This legislation would prohibit discrimination based on a person’s hair texture or hair style.

We know that subtle forms of discrimination occur when individuals are singled out for having hairstyles outside the norm of what “society “says is acceptable, proper or professional. Unfortunately, anti-discrimination laws do not necessarily keep pace with changing workplace, educational or social environments, this leaves people at risk of becoming targets of discrimination. Dreadlocks, braids, twist, bantu knots and afros are typically hairstyles associated with African Americans. Historically these hairstyles create a problem for many human resources managers, educators and coaches, who want employees, students or participants to follow established policies and maintain a uniformed “neat” appearance regardless of culture or ethnicity.

We can no longer standby while individuals are being targeted, harassed, and denied access to opportunities based on their hair texture or hairstyle. Please join us in continuing the fight to eradicate discrimination of any kind by co-sponsoring this very important legislation.

Introduced as HB2725