Texas, Arkansas Are Latest States to Adopt CROWN Acts

Author: Emily Scace, XpertHR Legal Editor

June 5, 2023

Texas and Arkansas have become the latest two states to adopt CROWN Acts - laws that prohibit discrimination based on hairstyles often associated with race such as Afros, locks and braids.

The Texas law, signed on May 27 by Gov. Greg Abbott, applies to employers with 15 or more employees and prohibits discrimination based on hair textures or protective hairstyles that are commonly associated with race, including braids, locks and twists.

The law also includes a provision specifying that dress or grooming policies that discriminate against a hair texture or protective hairstyle associated with race are unlawful employment practices.

The Texas law takes effect September 1.

A local hairstyle discrimination ban in Austin, Texas, took effect in June 2022.

The Arkansas CROWN Act applies to employers with nine or more employees. Somewhat broader in scope than the Texas law, it defines discrimination based on race, national origin or ethnic or racial animosity to include discrimination because of a natural, protective or cultural hairstyle.

A natural, protective or cultural hairstyle includes:

  • Afros;
  • Dreadlocks;
  • Twists;
  • Locs;
  • Braids;
  • Cornrow braids;
  • Bantu knots;
  • Curls; and
  • Hair styled to protect hair texture or for cultural significance.

The Arkansas law takes effect July 31.

With the with the addition of Texas and Arkansas, 22 states, the District of Columbia and many localities have now enacted CROWN Acts.