Discrimination comes in many forms in the workplace, in schools or in other public places. At work, it may be from a coworker, a manager or a company owner. The discrimination may be based on gender, age, religion, disability or another broad category. One specific type of discrimination that deserves attention is hairstyle discrimination.

What Is Hairstyle Discrimination?

This type of discrimination is not limited to whether you wear your hair up or down. It can include texture, color and other issues. If you feel that you were denied a job, demoted at work or treated differently in school because of your hair, you may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation. According to New York City’s laws, some types of hair discrimination may be considered racial discrimination. While the laws encompass a wide variety of issues, they were especially intended to protect black employees who were the victims of discrimination because of their hairstyle choices.

New York City’s Hairstyle Discrimination Laws

The law specifically allows people with treated, untreated, uncut and cut hair to wear it as they wish. This includes braids, fades, knots, cornrows and more. The city’s recent guidelines for hairstyle discrimination identification are based on the New York City Human Rights Law. That law protects people who want to wear their hair in a style that is tied to their ethnic, cultural or racial identity. Under the city’s laws, people who are the victims of hairstyle discrimination are eligible for punitive damages from employers, school authority figures and related parties in public spaces. However, employers are still allowed to require workers to keep their hair tied or netted when they work in food service jobs or in other capacities that require high standards of safety and sanitation.

The Growing Hairstyle Discrimination Trend

Hairstyle discrimination has been increasing across the country. Recently, a referee told a wrestler to cut his dreadlocks before a match. The ultimatum was that the wrestler would forfeit the match if he did not comply. In another case, a woman was denied a job when she refused to cut her hair. Although federal judges upheld the employer’s decision for other reasons in that case, New York City’s laws are stricter and more defined. For this reason, your hairstyle choices are protected at greater lengths in this city than they are in other places. If you think that you may have a case, you can discuss the details with one of our attorneys. Rest assured that your information and concerns are confidential.

What to Expect During a Case

Since the New York City Human Rights Law classifies hairstyles as inherent to a person’s cultural, ethnic or racial identity, offending discriminators may be fined up to $250,000 for violating the law. This applies to offenders in public places, school authority figures and employers. If you were fired because of your hairstyle, the employer may be required to give you the job back and to change company policies about acceptable hairstyles. Although the penalty fee is paid to a commission entity, a lawsuit award is a completely separate issue. Since the damages of the aftermath of such an incident may be extensive, there is no monetary limit for a lawsuit. Our attorneys can help you assess the extent of past, current and potential future damages for a fair award.

Talk to a New York City Discrimination Attorney

We serve the metro area and have multiple offices in Manhattan and Long Island. We understand that discrimination and personal attacks can be emotionally stressful and physically draining for victims. Our sensitive attorneys have helped many people obtain compensation for hairstyle discrimination and other types of discrimination in multiple capacities. If you are a victim of hairstyle discrimination or another type of discrimination against your ethnic, cultural or racial identity, please call us for a free consultation.

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