Effective September 1, 2023, Texas joins the growing list of states that prohibit discrimination based on hairstyle. The state’s employment discrimination law, which applies to employers with 15 or more employees, has been expanded to prohibit discrimination on the basis of an employee’s hair texture or protective hairstyle commonly or historically associated with race. Protective hairstyles include braids, twists, and locks.
If you have safety concerns with certain hairstyles or lengths, consider how those can be addressed short of all-out restrictions. For example, employees with long hair may be able to tie it back or cover it during hazardous activities. If you can’t resolve a conflict between protected hairstyles and safety, we recommend consulting with an attorney before taking adverse action against an employee.
- Update your equal employment or antidiscrimination policy to include hair texture and protective hairstyles commonly or historically associated with race as a protected characteristic.
- Evaluate any dressing or grooming policies that limit hairstyles, including policies that contain indirect restrictions, such as those that require hair to be less than a certain length.
- Train managers and those involved in the hiring process to not make judgments about professionalism or cultural fit based on an applicant’s hairstyle.
Effective September 1, 2023, all employers must conspicuously post a workplace notice in English and Spanish (as appropriate for the workforce) describing how to report instances of workplace violence or suspicious activity to the Texas Department of Public Safety. The department will provide the notice for employers once it’s created. Resourcing Edge will continue to monitor and share once it becomes available.