Whitmer signs CROWN Act, prohibiting race-based hair discrimination in Michigan

Posted at 4:12 PM, Jun 15, 2023

(WXYZ) — Governor Gretchen Whitmer has signed a bill that expands the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act to prohibit race-based hair discrimination.

The CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair) Act passed both the Michigan House and Michigan Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. The bill prohibits race-based hair discrimination, or the denial of employment and educational opportunities because of hair texture or protective hairstyles such as braids, locs, twists, or bantu knots.

“I am proud to sign today’s bipartisan legislation alongside Senator Anthony to end hair discrimination in Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer in a news release. “The CROWN Act will address hair discrimination Black Michiganders face at work, at school, and elsewhere. Black Michiganders must be able to wear their natural hairstyles however they choose and not feel forced to change or straighten their hair for interviews, work, or school. We know that 44% of Black women under the age of 34 have felt this kind of discrimination before and I am proud that we are taking an important step forward today to make our state more equitable and just. Let’s keep working together on our comprehensive Make it in Michigan vision to build a state where every Michigander can work, live, and raise a family.”

The CROWN Act now adds hair discrimination to the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act, which was originally passed in 1976 and prohibits discriminatory practices, policies, and customs in the exercise of rights based upon religion, race, color, national origin, age, sex, height, weight, familial status, or marital status.

Michigan is the 23rd state to sign the CROWN Act into law.