NJ bans hair discrimination after wrestler forced to cut dreadlocks or forfeit his match
New Jersey has banned discrimination based on hairstyles exactly one year after a black high school wrestler was forced to cut his dreadlocks in order to compete.
The bill adds language to the state's Law Against Discrimination, expanding its protections to traits historically associated with race — including hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles such as braids, locks and twists. The state Senate and Assembly approved the bill on Monday, sending it to Gov. Phil Murphy, who signed it into law on Thursday.
"Race-based discrimination will not be tolerated in the State of New Jersey," Murphy said in a statement. “No one should be made to feel uncomfortable or be discriminated against because of their natural hair. I am proud to sign this law in order to help ensure that all New Jersey residents can go to work, school, or participate in athletic events with dignity."
New Jersey's Create a Respectful and Open Workspace for Natural Hair Act, or CROWN Act, is similar to one in California, which in July became the first state to enact a law banning hair discrimination.