The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal laws against discrimination in employment.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 “makes it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex” or “to retaliate against a person because the person complained about discrimination, filed a charge of discrimination, or participated in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit.”
The EEOC “interprets and enforces Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination as forbidding any employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation.”
Additionally, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA) “protects people who are 40 or older from discrimination because of age.” The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 makes it illegal “to discriminate against a woman because of pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.” The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) “makes it illegal to discriminate against a qualified person with a disability.”
Some states and cities have additional anti-discrimination laws.
Under new guidelines released by the New York City Commission on Human Rights, discrimination against people based on their hairstyle will now be considered a form of racial discrimination.
This is the Commission that has already decreed:
It is illegal to discriminate against employees, interns, job seekers, and some independent contractors on the basis of:
Age • Arrest or Conviction Record • Caregiver Status • Color • Credit History • Disability • Gender • Gender Identity • Immigration Status • Marital or Partnership Status • Military Service • National Origin • Pregnancy • Race • Religion/Creed • Salary History • Sexual Orientation • Status as Victim of Domestic Violence, Sexual Violence, or Stalking • Unemployment Status
The Commission now specifically asserts the right of people to have “natural hair, treated or untreated hairstyles such as locs, cornrows, twists, braids, Bantu knots, fades, Afros, and/or the right to keep hair in an uncut or untrimmed state.”
“There’s nothing keeping us from calling out these policies prohibiting natural hair or hairstyles most closely associated with black people,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, the commissioner and chairwoman of the New York City Commission on Human Rights. “They are based on racist standards of appearance,” she continued, saying that they perpetuate “racist stereotypes that say black hairstyles are unprofessional or improper.”
The guidelines “give legal recourse to individuals who have been harassed, threatened, punished, demoted or fired because of the texture or style of their hair,” including penalties up to $250,000. “The commission can also force internal policy changes and rehirings at offending institutions.”
The new guidelines were prompted in part by investigations after complaints from workers.
The issue is a simple one.
Who decides what hairstyles are appropriate in the workplace?
In a free society, employers decide what hairstyles are appropriate for their employees. In an authoritarian society, the government decides.
And not only that.
In a free society, employers decide what the dress code will be at work.
In a free society, employers decide whether male workers are allowed to wear yarmulkes or turbans and female workers are allowed to wear veils or burqas.
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In a free society, if an employer wants his employees to be all male, all female, or all transgender; all gay, all straight, or all bisexual; all Catholic, all Protestant, or all Jewish; all black, all white, or all mixed race; then that should be his decision, not the government’s.
In a free society, business owners have the right to refuse to hire anyone for any reason and on any basis.
In a free society, businesses are able to discriminate against potential employees just as potential employees can now legally discriminate against businesses.
In a free society, no one has any legal recourse if a business refuses to hire him no matter how qualified he thinks he is.
All of this is because in a free society, there is no EEOC, there are no anti-discrimination laws, and the right to discriminate is essential and absolute.
Those who object to a company’s hiring, promotion, workplace, pay, or benefit practices can quit his job, seek employment elsewhere, protest the company’s policies on social media, boycott the company, and try to persuade others to adopt his views.
The question for Americans is whether they want to live in a free society or an authoritarian society.
It is that simple.
A free society must include the freedom to discriminate, not only against someone because of the style of his hair, but for any reason and on any basis.