MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WJZ) — The Montgomery County Council has unanimously passed legislation that would update the county’s anti-discrimination law to prohibit discrimination based on certain hairstyles.
The Montgomery County Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act makes it illegal to discriminate against a person with a “protective hairstyle,” which the legislation describes as “those hairstyles necessitated by, or resulting from, the immutable characteristics of a hair texture associated with race.”
Among the hairstyles included in the legislation are afros, braids, locks, curls and twists.
“This bill will say with a resounding voice that discrimination on the basis of natural hair is race discrimination,” said Councilmember Will Jawando, a co-sponsor of the bill.
The county’s human rights office will be tasked with enforcing the new law. Officials said they do not anticipate receiving enough complaints to significantly affect the office’s operations.
Individuals who feel they have had their civil rights violated can file a complaint with the human rights office and seek up to $5,000 in compensation. That process is the same for any kind of discrimination, not just the provisions listed in the CROWN Act, a member of Jawando’s staff said.