CROWN Act: Tempe is 2nd Arizona city to pass hair discrimination ban

Tempe is now the second Arizona city to ban discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyles, including at schools and in the workplace.

The city said Nov. 15 that the Tempe City Council last week unanimously approved adding the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act, to its anti-discrimination ordinance.

Hairstyles like braids, twists or bantu knots would be protected.

Tempe’s African American Advisory Committee and Human Relations Commission pushed for the addition. The city also pointed to a study that reported Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair and 80% more likely to feel like they have to change their hair to fit in at work.

"The unanimous Council approval of the CROWN Act is a testament that our anti-discrimination ordinance is a living, breathing set of codes that will continue to expand and change as we progress as a community," said Tempe Mayor Corey Woods. "I’m thankful and proud of our community members who have brought this to our attention."

Crown Act

The city’s anti-discrimination ordinance has been in effect since 2014. It prohibits discrimination based on race, religion, sexual orientation among other traits.

Tucson became the first Arizona city to incorporate the CROWN Act in February.

The CROWN Act is part of a national campaign promoted by Dove, the National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law and Poverty. It also prohibits workplace discrimination based on headdresses worn for cultural or religious reasons.

Continuing Coverage:

Hair discrimination still exists in today’s society. In the last five years, a referee forced a wrestler to cut his locks at a New Jersey match, and children in different states were sent home from school for wearing protective hairstyles, including a little boy in Florida.


Dove study on natural hair and discrimination

Discriminatory incidents happen in the office, too. In 2019, Dove conducted a research study on workplace bias.

It found that Black women were 83% more likely to report being judged harshly on their looks than other women, and Black women were 30% more likely to be made aware of a workplace appearance policy. The study also found Black women were one-and-a-half times more likely to be sent home from the office because of their hair.


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