Lamont Applauds House Approval of the CROWN Act to Stop Workplace Discrimination Based on Ethnic Hairstyles

On Wednesday Governor Ned Lamont applauded the Connecticut House of Representatives for approving legislation that will prohibit workplace discrimination based on hairstyles that are commonly associated with people of color, such as afros, Bantu knots, braids, cornrows, dreadlocks, and twists.

Known as the CROWN Act, which stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” the legislation passed the House by a vote of 139-9.

A 2019 study found that Black women are 80 percent more likely to alter their natural hair to accommodate social norms or work expectations and 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hairstyles.

“I am thrilled to see the passage of the CROWN Act today by the Connecticut House of Representatives,” Governor Lamont said. “Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable, but we all know there are invisible moments and instances of discrimination that take place each and every day. When a Black man or woman shows up for a job interview or to work, they should never be judged based on their hairstyle. Their work product, commitment, dedication, and work ethic should be the sources of their success. This measure is critical to helping build a more equitable society, and I urge the Senate to pass this bill so I can put my signature on it and we can get this law into our statute books.”

Earlier this month, Commissioner Vannessa Dorantes, who is the first African-American commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Children and Families, submitted testimony on behalf of the Lamont administration in support of the legislation.

“Personally, I have had to devote too much time in decisions related to hairstyle choice and its effects on how I would be received,” she said. “Negative perceptions do not change the skills I possess or the boundless potential in developing young people. However, it becomes all too real when discrimination of this kind occurs.”

The legislation is House Bill 6515, An Act Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.

It next must be approved by the State Senate.