Pittsburgh and Allegheny County pass bills banning hairstyle discrimination | News | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Pittsburgh and Allegheny County pass bills banning hairstyle discrimination

click to enlarge PHOTO: ISTOCK
Photo: iStock
Yesterday, both the municipal governments of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County passed bills that would ban discrimination based on hairstyle in employment, housing, real estate, and public accommodation.

Both chambers, Pittsburgh City Council and Allegheny County Council, voted unanimously to pass these changes. Both city and county join a growing movement across the country to provide protections over hairstyles, as Black Americans are often targeted for natural-hair styles like locks, plaits, or twists.

Earlier this year, a student Pittsburgh’s Central Catholic High School, a private school, started a petition calling on his school to lift its ban on hairstyles that unfairly targets Black students.


The new county law would prohibit discrimination in public schools, but not private institutions. Additionally public schools in the county can still impose nondiscriminatory dress codes and regulate participation in activities based on safety concerns and academic/disciplinary ineligibility.
Both known as the CROWN Act, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto introduced the city’s legislation, and the county’s ordinance was sponsored by Democratic county councilors Olivia Bennett (D-North Side), Anita Prizio (D-O’Hara), and at-large Democratic councilor Bethany Hallam.

Allegheny County’s new hairstyle definition encompasses “any characteristic, form, texture, or manner of wearing a person’s hair, to the extent that the hairstyle in question in commonly associated with a particular race, national origin, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, or religion.”

City of Pittsburgh residents suspecting hairstyle discrimination can submit complaints to the city’s Commission on Human Relations, and all county residents can submit to the Allegheny County’s Human Relations Commission.

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