Illinois is joining a growing number of states that are expanding the coverage of “race discrimination” to include discrimination based on hair style. The new law, effective January 1, 2023, is known as the CROWN (Create a Respectful  and Open Workplace for Natural Hair Act) will ban hairstyle discrimination in areas of employment, housing, financial transactions and public accommodations.

In the past, negative perceptions of hairstyles such as dreadlocks, twists, and braids that were more traditionally worn by the African American Community often resulted in unjust discrimination across various industries and most notably, in the context of employment. The definition of “race” under the Illinois Human Rights Act will now be expanded to include traits commonly associated with a race, including but not limited to those hairstyles and textures.

Recent studies point to the fact that black women are 1.5 times more likely that their counterparts to be sent home from work because of their hairstyle and are 80% more likely to change their natural hair texture or style to conform to expectations at work.

To paraphrase, modify (and shamelessly steal) a famous quote from the late Dr. Martin Luther King, this new law will ensure that “people should not be judged by the way they wear their hair but by the content of their character”.

With over 38 years’ experience in advising employers and employees on workplace issues, let Boznos Law work with you to ensure you are ready to meet the challenges posed by the changing employment landscape. Call Bill Boznos today at (630) 375-1958 or contact us at through our website at


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