NYC Commission on Human Rights Announces Hair Discrimination Settlement with a Restorative Twist

Dec 10, 2019 | News and Updates


With guidance from Restorative Justice Initiative, the NYC Commission on Human Rights has been working to incorporate restorative elements into the settlement of discrimination claims. 

Last month the Commission announced its first settlement involving race discrimination on the basis of hair, following the February 2019 release of its landmark legal enforcement guidance. The settlement with an Upper East Side hair salon concluded a Commission-initiated investigation into reports of discriminatory grooming policies enforced against Black employees.

The legal enforcement guidance was the first in the country to recognize discrimination on the basis of hair as race discrimination, prompting legislative change in other jurisdictions across the nation.
Settlement terms included that the salon will train employees to work with Black hair and help advance the careers of stylists who are not white. In addition, an owner and a senior stylist will complete 35 hours of community service with a racial justice organization – to be approved by the Commission – that works to combat hair discrimination and promote Black beauty. The salon will also complete trainings on racial justice and equity and identify several experts to provide such trainings. 

This resolution is another step towards ensuring that racist notions of professional appearance standards are not applied in New York City. The restorative justice components incorporated into the resolution demonstrate the Commission’s commitment to repairing and re-investing in the communities impacted by discriminatory practices.

These restorative remedies move beyond punishment to focus on repairing harm and achieving lasting justice and equity, said Carmelyn P. Malalis, Commissioner and Chair of the NYC Commission on Human Rights.

To read a New York Times article about the settlement, CLICK HERE.