New Orleans has enacted an ordinance (Calendar Number 33,184) that expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their protected cultural hairstyles.
New Orleans prohibits employment discrimination based on race, creed, national origin or ancestry, color, religion, gender or sex, sexual orientation, gender identification, marital status, age, physical condition, or disability.
Calendar Number 33,184:
The new ordinance makes clear that discrimination based on protected cultural hairstyles is prohibited and included in the prohibition on discrimination based on race and national origin. Under the law, protected cultural hairstyles are defined as any hairstyle or hair texture commonly associated with a particular race or national origin, including locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, Afros, and any hairstyle in which hair is tightly coiled or tightly curled.
New Orleans employers should review dress codes, appearance policies, and training to ensure compliance with the ordinance. If your policy simply indicates that employees must maintain kempt hair, consider clarifying that kempt means that the hair is clean and well combed or arranged, and that employees can comply with a variety of hairstyles that meet those criteria.
Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.