Bloomberg Law
March 18, 2022, 3:00 PM

U.S. House Passes Bill Banning Hairstyle Discrimination

Paige Smith
Paige Smith

The U.S. House passed a bill that would prohibit hair discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing, and other venues, after the lower chamber failed to pass the legislation with a two-thirds majority in February.

The House advanced the bill (H.R. 2116) with a vote of 235-189 on Friday, moving closer to legally clarifying that race discrimination doesn’t exclusively translate into adverse actions taken based only on a person’s skin color.

The bill would bar discrimination against locs, braids, Bantu knots, and other hairstyles to make uniform the hodgepodge of state laws against this form of bias, as well as competing court rulings weighing in on bias against specific styles.

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The House attempted to advance the bill under a special rule last month but failed to do so. Republican Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) called the vote “unnecessary and duplicative,” citing instances when federal courts have said that hair discrimination may constitute racial bias.

On the House floor before the vote, Jordan said members of Congress should instead be focused on addressing issues like energy independence and inflation.

“Not the Democrats—they’re going to focus on the hair bill,” he said.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the bill touches on a civil rights issue.

“This bill, as I just said, is not about hair,” he said. “But it’s about the reaction, the inequality, the discrimination, the ‘you’re not welcome here’ if your hair texture is different.”

Advocates in support of the bill say a split of opinions between federal appellate courts necessitates the clarification the legislation would provide.

The White House also endorses the legislation.

“Such discrimination has imposed significant economic costs, learning disruption, and denial of economic opportunities for people of color,” the Biden administration said in a March 15 policy statement. “Black women, for example, experience discrimination in hiring because of natural hair styles, and Black girls experience disproportionate rates of school discipline, sometimes for discriminatory hair violations.”

It’s uncertain how the bill will fare in the Senate; Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced a companion bill (S. 888), but it currently has no Republican backers. Only one Republican, Rep. Don Bacon (R-Neb.), supports the House version.

The full title of the CROWN Act is the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act.”

BGOV Bill Summary: H.R. 2116, Natural Hair Discrimination (1)

To contact the reporter on this story: Paige Smith in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Harris at; Jo-el J. Meyer at; Fawn Johnson at