The ordinance to ban hairstyle discrimination was passed unanimously by the New Orleans City Council.
This move follows the progressive national trend of ending policies rooted in prejudice. The passing of this law has been a long time coming. For too long has these systems protected policies that clearly contribute to notions of social hierarchy. If the goal is unification and acceptance among communities, then our laws must reflect that. The passing of this ordinance is a step in that direction.
The past years have seen a few controversies surrounding hair discrimination. There was an issue focused on a student at the University of Holy Cross and the incident at Christ the King elementary are two examples. Even a local newscaster faced criticism for embracing a natural Afro on air. These issues are a stain on the reputation of any modern society.
Discrimination based on gender, race, age, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation, has already been banned, but hair discrimination wasn’t. The amended law grants the Human Relations Commission the authority to review complaints related to hairstyles of any race or nationality. Investigations can take place on these complaints in the workplace, public accommodations, in housing, or commercial spaces. Actions to remedy a factual complaint includes ending the discrimination, employee termination, or financial compensation.