At the end of October 2022, the Massachusetts Act Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Natural and Protective Hairstyles (the “CROWN Act”) went into effect. The CROWN Act expands the definition of “race” under Chapter 151B to include “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture, hair type, hair length, and protective hairstyles.” The term “protective hairstyles” is further defined to “include, but not be limited to, braids, locks, twists, Bantu knots, hair coverings, and other formations.”
The MCAD is tasked with promulgating rules and regulations to implement the CROWN Act. In the meantime, however, the Act is presently in effect and employers should review and update their Equal Employment Opportunity and dress, grooming, and related policies to ensure compliance.
About Amanda Marie Baer
Amanda Marie Baer is a Partner in the firm's Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Group. Amanda focuses her practice on representing employers in federal and state courts and before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Amanda defends employers against claims concerning discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, interference, and accommodations. Amanda also has experience in conducting workplace investigations into allegations of discrimination or harassment, and litigating to enforce (or defend claims regarding) employment, noncompetition/nonsolicitation, and severance agreements. Amanda's litigation experience makes her a valuable resource for employers seeking counsel on a myriad of day-to-day human resources issues and/or employment actions.
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