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Showing 4 posts in Equality.

Hair Today…Discrimination Tomorrow? California and New York Adopt Hair Style Protections, Others Surely to Follow

On July 3, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom approved Senate Bill No. 188 providing legal protection from discrimination in the workplace and in public schools for natural and protective hairstyles historically worn by black people and people of color. This bill expanded the scope of what is considered a protected race category under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act to include traits "historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles." Following California's lead, New York then became the second state to ban discrimination based on natural hairstyles on July 12, 2019, when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law S.6209A/A.7797A, which amends the Human Rights Law and Dignity for All Students Act. There is now proposed legislation in New Jersey as well, modeled after Senate Bill No. 188. This means employers in other states should take a hard look at their workplace hair and grooming policies to avoid discrimination actions. More ›

Hair today...discrimination case tomorrow?

California is well on its way to unanimously becoming the first state to ban discrimination in schools and workplaces based on hair/hairstyles, hair textures, and protective hairstyles such as twists, braids, updos, and wigs. The CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) Act would prohibit employers and schools from enforcing discriminatory grooming, hair keeping policies, or dress codes that could disproportionately affect people of color. Going forward, California employers should look at their related polices to ensure they are non-discriminatory and do not specifically target hairstyles or hair textures of people of color. More ›

Massachusetts Attorney General Provides Guidance On Equal Pay Law

Recently, the Massachusetts Attorney General, Maura Healey, issued guidance to assist employers in complying with the state’s Equal Pay Act (“MEPA”), which goes into effect on July 1, 2018. The 30-page guidance is comprehensive, offering an overview of the law, responses to frequently asked questions, a self-evaluation for employers, and a sample checklist of policies and practices. Due to its length and breadth, the guidance should be reviewed by employers in full. However, we note the following important aspects: More ›

Second Circuit Declares Sexual Orientation Discrimination is Sex Discrimination under Title VII

Acknowledging the “changing legal landscape” surrounding Title VII protections against discrimination, the Second Circuit overturned prior precedent and held sexual orientation is discrimination because of sex. The Second Circuit, sitting en banc in Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., examined the issue “from the perspective of sex stereotyping,” and unequivocally concluded that “sexual orientation discrimination is predicated on assumptions about how persons of a certain sex can or should be,” which is “an impermissible basis for adverse employment actions.” In Zarda, a deceased skydiving instructor was allegedly fired for disclosing his sexual orientation to a client and not conforming to the “straight male macho stereotype.” More ›

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