This notice is to inform you that Austin, Texas has amended its city code to prohibit employers from discriminating against individuals on traits associated with race, such as hair texture, hair type, hair length and protective hairstyles. The amendment is effective immediately.
Employers are prohibited from discriminating on the basis of a protective hairstyle, which the law defines as a hairstyle necessitated by, or resulting from, the characteristics of a hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity or culture.
Protective hairstyles include Afros, Bantu knots, braids, cornrows, curls, locs, twists and hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled.
Employers in Austin should review their dress codes, appearance policies and training to ensure compliance.
Note: If your policy 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.