Client Alert June 16, 2023 Kathryn Z. Stegink

Michigan Bans Discrimination Based on Natural and Protective Hairstyles

 On June 15, 2023, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed into a law a bill amending Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (“ELCRA”) to prohibit discrimination based on natural hair textures and protective hairstyles in employment, housing, education, and places of public accommodation.  Senate Bill 90 (referred to as the “CROWN Act”), now Public Act 45 of 2023,  revises the ELCRA to make clear that discrimination based on “race” includes discrimination based on “traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles.”  “Protective hairstyles” include, but are not limited to, “such hairstyles as braids, locks, and twists.”  The Act takes immediate effect.

Employers should review their appearance and dress code policies, as well as the training provided to human resources and managerial employees, to ensure that their policies and training reflect these new protections.  If employers have any questions, they should contact Nikole Canute, Scott Dwyer, Nate Wolf, Dominic Clolinger, or Kathryn  Zoller as soon as practicable

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