New York City’s Commission on Human Rights will reveal guidelines later this week for the legal recourse a person can take if they’ve been targeted at work, school or a public space based on their hair.
According to the New York Times, the law applies to anyone in New York City but is aimed at helping African-Americans who are disproportionately victimized based on the texture or style of their hair. The guidelines specifically read “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”
When enacted, individuals who have been harassed, demoted or fired, the city’s commission can issue a penalty for up to $250,000 and there is no cap on damages. The commission can also force an internal policy changes and rehirings at companies in question.
News of the guidelines comes just two months after a New Jersey teen was forced to cut his locs in order to continue participating in a wrestling match. The decision sparked outrage by many who found the choices discriminatory.
The guidelines obtained by the Times are considered the first in the country and are based on the argument one’s hair is intrinsic to one’s race and is protected under the city’s human rights laws.