Protecting Protective Hairstyles: Kansas City’s CROWN Act Takes Effect

November 2, 2020 Advisory

Kansas City, Missouri, is the latest jurisdiction to implement a “Crown Act” ordinance, prohibiting discrimination based on natural hair types and hairstyles commonly associated with race and racial identity. Ordinance 200837, known as the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act” took effect on Nov. 1, 2020. The ordinance modifies the definition of race to include “traits historically associated with race.” Such traits include but are not limited to braids, locks and twists, afros and hair texture. The ordinance prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, brokerage services, commercial real estate loans, public accommodations, and other related contexts. As a result, businesses and employers in Kansas City, Missouri, which maintain appearance policies should carefully review any restrictions or other consequences placed on hairstyle and work with counsel to ensure compliance with the new ordinance. 

Businesses and employers operating in other jurisdictions should also be mindful of state and federal initiatives to implement similar laws across the country. For instance, a similar Crown Act law was introduced in Missouri’s neighboring state of Kansas (Senate Bill 250) this year to prohibit discrimination based on the wearing of protective hairstyles, though it failed to pass. Efforts are underway on the national level as well with House Bill 5309, a federal Crown Act law. If passed, the law will prohibit discrimination based on natural hairstyles or hair textures in employment, education, public accommodations and housing. The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives on Sept. 21, 2020, and is now with the Senate. 

Armstrong Teasdale will continue to monitor any developments with respect to the CROWN Act and related enforcement action. Sign up or update your email preferences to receive legal and event information from Armstrong Teasdale related to this and other timely topics.

Contact Us
  • Worldwide
  • Boston, MA
  • Denver, CO
  • Dublin, Ireland
  • Edwardsville, IL
  • Jefferson City, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Las Vegas, NV
  • London, England
  • Miami, FL
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Princeton, NJ
  • Salt Lake City, UT
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Wilmington, DE
Worldwide
abstract image of world map
Boston, MA
800 Boylston St.
30th Floor
Boston, MA 02199
Google Maps
Boston, Massachusetts
Denver, CO
4643 S. Ulster St.
Suite 800
Denver, CO 80237
Google Maps
Denver, Colorado
Dublin, Ireland
Fitzwilliam Hall, Fitzwilliam Place
Dublin 2, Ireland
Google Maps
Edwardsville, IL
115 N. Second St.
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Google Maps
Edwardsville, Illinois
Jefferson City, MO
101 E. High St.
First Floor
Jefferson City, MO 65101
Google Maps
Jefferson City, Missouri
Kansas City, MO
2345 Grand Blvd.
Suite 1500
Kansas City, MO 64108
Google Maps
Kansas City, Missouri
Las Vegas, NV
1980 Festival Plaza Drive, Suite 750
One Summerlin
Las Vegas, NV 89135
Google Maps
Las Vegas, Nevada
London, England
Royal College of Surgeons of England
38-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London, WC2A 3PE
Google Maps
Miami, FL
355 Alhambra Circle
Suite 1250
Coral Gables, FL 33134
Google Maps
Photo of Miami, Florida
New York, NY
7 Times Square, 44th Floor
New York, NY 10036
Google Maps
New York City skyline
Philadelphia, PA
2005 Market Street
29th Floor, One Commerce Square
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Google Maps
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Princeton, NJ
100 Overlook Center
Second Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540
Google Maps
Princeton, New Jersey
Salt Lake City, UT
201 South Main Street
Suite 750
Salt Lake City, UT 84111
Google Maps
Salt Lake City, Utah
St. Louis, MO
7700 Forsyth Blvd.
Suite 1800
St. Louis, MO 63105
Google Maps
St. Louis, Missouri
Washington, D.C.
1050 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
Google Maps
Photo of Washington, D.C. with the Capitol in the foreground and Washington Monument in the background.
Wilmington, DE
1007 North Market Street
Wilmington, DE 19801
Google Maps
Wilmington, Delaware