Proposed law aims to prohibit discrimination against natural hairstyles in Wisconsin

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Wisconsin (WQOW) – A recent bill circulating the state capitol aims to prohibit discrimination based on a person’s hairstyle.

Last month state Rep. LaKeshia Myers brought the bill to the Wisconsin legislature.

She said certain hairstyles like afros, braids, and locs are seen as “unprofessional” in many work environments. For the African-Americans who normally sport these hairstyles, Myers called it unfair to make them change their hair to fit Eurocentric standards.

She said she’s personally heard from friends and constituents who lost their jobs or had job offers rescinded due to their natural hairstyles. “If you look in hospitality, if you look in business, if you look in every industry, this has been an issue,” Myers said. “Wherever there are grooming standards that require someone to wear a certain hairstyle, or not wear a certain hairstyle, that is an issue.”

Myers said this proposed law would not take away grooming standards in the workplace.

Even students at UW-Eau Claire weighed in on the matter, saying it’s ridiculous employers would discriminate based on someone’s hair.

“I am for this bill because I think it is wrong for anybody, black, or any other ethnicity to be discriminated against because of their hair or whatever they choose to do with it because I feel like that’s a personal thing,” said Romel Pryor. Pryor is a UWEC sophomore who sports his natural hair. “I feel like that’s a way for them to express themselves.”

Myers introduced the bill just weeks after California and New York passed similar laws.

The Wisconsin bill has now moved to an Assembly committee.

Katrina Lim

Katrina Lim

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