On February 1, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed the CROWN Act into law, expressly prohibiting discrimination based on natural hair texture and hairstyle. Following the CROWN Act’s passage, Minnesota joins a growing list of states to enact such legislation.

Referred to as “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair,” or the CROWN Act, House File (HF) 37 revises the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), which prohibits race discrimination in employment, by expanding the definition of “race” to include “traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locs, and twists.” In addition to the styles expressly mentioned, the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (MDHR) is expected to issue further guidance on the application of this new law.

At least nineteen other states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and several cities and counties have passed similar laws to prohibit discrimination based on hair texture and style. In addition, Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, alongside other House Democrats, has introduced a similar bill before the United States Congress.

If you are experiencing discrimination or retaliation on the basis of your race—including hair texture or style—or other protected status, contact Kitzer Rochel. Our experienced employment law attorneys would be happy to discuss your case and understand your legal rights and options.