Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

Maloney O'Laughlin PLLC fights for employees throughout Washington, from Seattle to Spokane.

What is hair discrimination?

On Behalf of | Mar 23, 2023 | Race And National Origin Discrimination

Even though society has made some impressive advancements in equality in recent decades, workplace discrimination continues to be an all-too-common occurrence in workplaces across the country. In fact, according to NASDAQ, 55% of surveyed workers said they had experienced it at their current places of employment.

While most workers are familiar with many types of discrimination, hair discrimination is only beginning to receive the recognition it requires. Still, if your employer takes adverse employment action against you because of your hair or hairstyle, you might be a victim of hair discrimination.

Washington’s hair discrimination law

As you probably know, certain types of hair and hairstyles have close associations with specific racial and ethnic groups. Consequently, discriminating against a person’s hair can constitute illegal racial discrimination. In Washington, though, the law specifically prohibits hair discrimination.

According to a press release from Rep. Melanie Morgan’s office, the state’s anti-discrimination laws now protect a worker’s right to wear braids, locks, afros and other ethnic styles of hair. It also allows individuals to don protective head coverings at work.

Your legal remedies

If you believe your employer might be discriminating against you because of your legally protected hairstyle, you might need to act promptly both to stop the discrimination and to protect your job. Because Washington’s approach is comparatively new, your employer might just need some education about what it says.

Ultimately, though, it may be appropriate to look into your other legal remedies, such as filing an official discrimination complaint against your employer.