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NYC Bars Bias Based on Dreadlocks, Cornrows, Other Hairstyles

Feb. 19, 2019, 5:53 PM

Appearance and grooming policies that ban or restrict naturally curly hair, dreadlocks, braids, cornrows, and other hairstyles violate the New York City Human Rights Law, a city agency said.

The city Human Rights Commission, in enforcement guidance issued Feb. 19, said it’s a form of race discrimination to prohibit “natural hair or hairstyles most closely associated with Black people.” The bans, the agency said, “are often rooted in white standards of appearance and perpetuate racist stereotypes that Black hairstyles are unprofessional.”

The guidance takes a strong anti-bias position in a legal area marked by conflicting theories.

A federal judge in ...