Excerpted from a Seyfarth Shaw LLP Blog by Linda Schoonmaker and Elizabeth Humphrey

Natural hairstyles have become increasingly popular among Black Americans of both sexes. Despite their popularity, these hairstyles have been overregulated frequently in the workplace. To address this concern, Texas recently joined the ranks of 21 other states in passing the CROWN Act, which prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on hair texture or hairstyle.

On May 27, 2023, Governor Greg Abbott signed into law H.B. 567, the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act, aimed at protecting citizens from hair discrimination. The CROWN Act amends Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code to prohibit discrimination “on the basis of hair texture or protective hairstyle commonly associated with race.” The Act specifically lists “braids, locks, and twists” as hairstyles deserving protection and prohibits discrimination based on “hairstyles commonly associated with race,” which is broad enough to include other styles like afros, cornrows, bantu knots, and high-top fades.

The CROWN Act will become effective on September 1, 2023. It applies to employers, labor unions, employment agencies, public schools, and institutions of higher education.


Texas employers should review their dress and grooming policies to ensure those policies do not run afoul of the CROWN Act. Employers would be wise to think about the term “protective hairstyle” expansively, as the CROWN Act may easily be read to include protection for styles other than those listed in the Act. If an employer desires to create a policy that regulates hairstyles, it should consider if its policy could be applied to discriminate on the basis of race. Workplace grooming policies should not be written or enforced in a way that disproportionately subjects Black employees to discipline. Vague terms like “distracting” and “extreme” open the door for broad interpretations and potentially problematic enforcement. 

For the full story, please click here.