NYC COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS ANNOUNCES FIRST HAIR DISCRIMINATION CASE RESOLUTION SINCE ISSUING LANDMARK LEGAL ENFORCEMENT GUIDANCE

The NYC Commission on Human Rights announces its first settlement involving race discrimination on the basis of hair following the February 2019 release of its landmark legal enforcement guidance. The settlement with Sally Hershberger Salon and Sharon Dorram Color concludes a Commission-initiated investigation into reports of discriminatory grooming policies enforced against Black employees. The legal enforcement guidance was the first in the country to recognize discrimination on the basis of hair as race discrimination, prompting legislative change in other jurisdictions across the nation.

The settlement stipulates that the businesses must partner with a NYC-based styling school that specializes in the care and styling of natural hair and hairstyles closely associated with Black people in order to: train current salon employees to cut and style natural hair; and create a multicultural internship program which will provide professional opportunities to hair stylist from underrepresented groups. In addition, business owner Sharon Dorram and senior stylist Tim Lehman (Hershberger Salons), will complete 35 hours of community service with a racial justice organization – to be approved by the Commission – that works to combat hair discrimination and promote Black beauty.

The businesses were also mandated by the Commission to complete trainings on racial justice and equity and to identify several experts to provide such trainings. The salon has engaged Dr. Gillian Scott-Ward, psychologist, natural hair advocate, and director of the documentary Back to Natural, to lead the trainings.

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