Raleigh joins Durham in passing ordinance banning hairstyle discrimination

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Raleigh became the latest Triangle city to pass an ordinance forbidding discrimination based on hairstyle or hair texture.

The city council passed the ordinance unanimously in its regular meeting Tuesday.

Back on Feb. 16, Councilmember Stormie D. Forte had asked the council to consider the legislation that other municipalities and states had enacted. The state of North Carolina does not have such an ordinance.

"A number of our local municipalities have adopted this type of ordinance to protect natural hairstyles for folks in various minority communities," Forte said Tuesday before the vote. "And so, I would urge the council that we follow suit and make sure that folks who are working for the city or working for city contractors do not face discrimination based on their hairstyles."

Mayor Mary-Ann Baldwin thanked Forte for her leadership on the issue after the council voted 8-0 to enact the measure.

The City of Raleigh's policy, which opposes discrimination based on actual or perceived age, mental or physical disability, sex, religion, race, color, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial or marital status, economic status, veteran status or national origin, now will forbid race or national origin discrimination based on a person's hair texture or hairstyle.

The city's ordinance language clarifies that the policy includes hair texture or hairstyle "commonly associated with a particular race or national origin, including, but not limited to braids, locks, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, Bantu knots, and Afros."

Raleigh's ordinance takes effect immediately.

Durham passed such an ordinance in January, but it did not take effect until July 1 to give business and city leaders time to become familiar and adjust to the new rules.
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