Tennessee has enacted legislation that expressly prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their hairstyle or other traits associated with race. Senate Bill 136 took effect on July 1, 2022.
The Tennessee Human Rights Act prohibits employers from discriminating against applicants and employees based on numerous protected characteristics, including race.
Senate Bill 136 is amended to prohibit discrimination based on traits associated with race, such as hair texture, afro hairstyles, and protective hairstyles, which include braids, locs, and twists.
- Review dress codes, appearance policies, and training to ensure compliance with Senate Bill 136.
- 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.