Delaware has enacted legislation (Senate Bill 32) that expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on hair texture and protective hairstyles. Senate Bill 32 takes effect immediately.
Delaware prohibits employers with four or more employees from discriminating against applicants and employees based on race and certain other characteristics.
Senate Bill 32:
Senate Bill 32 makes clear that the prohibition on race-based discrimination also includes traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and a protective hairstyle. As defined, a protective hairstyle includes braids, locks, and twists.
Delaware employers should review dress codes, appearance policies, and training to ensure compliance with Senate Bill 32. If your policy simply indicates that employees must maintain kempt hair, consider clarifying that kempt means that 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.