What is the CROWN Act in New York?

crown act new york

On July 3, 2019, the governor of New York signed the CROWN Act, which officially prohibits employers and schools from enforcing “race-neutral” grooming policies restricting natural hairstyles. For more information on what this means for employees wanting to wear their natural hairstyles, please read on, then contact an experienced New York City employment discrimination lawyer. Some questions you may have include:

What does the CROWN Act do in New York?

The CROWN Act is a fairly recent piece of legislation that specifically bars discrimination in the workplace and other environments based on natural hair or hairstyles, such as hair texture or protective hairstyles, such as braids. Under this Act, ancestry, a person’s skin color, and a person’s ethnic background or ethnic group identification all fall under the blanket category of “race.” Under the Act, individuals may also not be

  • Color
  • Ethnic group identification
  • Ethnic background

What happens if a New York employer does not comply with the CROWN Act?

If an employer does not comply with the CROWN Act, they will face many of the same consequences as those outlined in the Empire State’s existing Law Against Discrimination. To that end, as a defendant, they may have to pay the following financial penalties to the plaintiff:

  • Equitable relief
  • Recovery for economic losses
  • Compensatory damages
  • Punitive damages
  • Attorney fees

How do you ensure your NY employer is complying with the CROWN Act?

You may start by reviewing your employer’s dress code and hygiene policies, especially if your employer has updated the employee handbook to reflect the legally required changes. If your employer has not received training regarding what acts might be considered discriminatory under this law, you can make a written suggestion that they do so. Pay close attention to any training on diversity and inclusion in the workplace, along with any harassment and discrimination training programs, your employer may offer you and other employees.

How do you know your NY employer is violating the CROWN Act?

There are various potential signs that your employer is violating the CROWN Act. Just some examples of potential violations of this Act include restrictions on hairstyles or lengths, such as a “no braids” policy. In any event, if you believe that you were discriminated against by your employer and you need a lawyer who can protect your rights under the CROWN Act, simply give our firm a call today.

Adnan Mirza, Esq. can answer any further questions you may have.


If you are facing employment law or personal injury law issues of any kind, contact Mirza Law today to schedule your initial consultation with our seasoned legal team.