Oregon has enacted legislation (House Bill 2935), which bans hairstyle discrimination in the workplace. House Bill 2935 takes effect on January 1, 2022.
Oregon law prohibits all employers from discriminating against their employees on the basis of certain protected characteristics, such as race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, or age.
The law also includes provisions addressing dress codes. For instance, under the law, employers are allowed to enforce a valid dress code or policy, as long as they provide, on a case-by-case basis, reasonable accommodations based on the health and safety needs of an individual.
House Bill 2935:
House Bill 2935 amends the law to also expressly prohibit employers from discriminating against an employee on the basis of physical characteristics that are historically associated with race. This includes, but is not limited to, natural hair, hair texture, hair type and protective hairstyles.
Protective hairstyle includes hairstyle, hair color, or manner of wearing hair that includes braids (regardless of whether the braids are created with extensions or styled with adornments), locs and twists.
In addition to requiring employers to provide reasonable accommodations for the health and safety needs of individuals, House Bill 2935 provides that the dress code or policy should not have a disproportionate adverse impact on members of a protected class.
Oregon employers should review their dress codes, policies, and procedures to ensure compliance with House Bill 2935 by January 1, 2022. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.