Illinois has enacted legislation (Senate Bill 3616) that expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on their hair texture or protective hairstyle. Senate Bill 3616 takes effect Jan. 1, 2023.
The Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals based on their race and certain other characteristics. Senate Bill 3616 amends the IHRA to make clear that the definition of race includes traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and protective hairstyles, such as braids, locks, and twists.
- Review dress codes, appearance policies and training to ensure compliance with Senate Bill 3616.
- If your policy simply indicates that employees must maintain kempt hair, consider clarifying that kempt means that the hair is clean and well combed or arranged, and that employees can comply with a variety of hairstyles that meet those criteria.