Press Releases

Chairman Nadler Floor Statement in Support of H.R. 2116, the CROWN Act of 2022

Washington, February 28, 2022

Washington, D.C. - Today, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) delivered the following statement on the House floor in support of H.R. 2116, the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act of 2022: 

"The 'Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act,' or the 'CROWN Act,' is a critically important civil rights bill that would explicitly prohibit discrimination on the basis of hair texture or hairstyles commonly associated with a particular race or national origin.  It would do so in areas of the law where discrimination on the basis of race or national origin is already prohibited, such as employment, education, and housing.

"To be clear, it is my view that existing civil rights statutes already make such kind of hair-based discrimination unlawful.  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agrees, having issued guidance interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to prohibit such discrimination as a form of race discrimination in certain circumstances.

"Unfortunately, some federal courts have erroneously rejected this interpretation.  The CROWN Act simply fixes these courts’ misinterpretation of federal civil rights law.

"And this fix is urgently needed.  According to a 2019 study conducted by the JOY Collective, Black people are 'disproportionately burdened by policies and practices in public places, including the workplace, that target, profile, or single them out for natural hair styles' and other hairstyles traditionally associated with their race, like braids, locs, and twists.

"The study also found that 80 percent of Black women believed that they had to change their hair from its natural state to 'fit in at the office' and that they were 83 percent more likely to be judged harshly because of their looks.

"While this study illustrates the prevalence of hair discrimination, it is the people behind those numbers that make this legislation so vital.  For example, a Texas student was told that he would not be allowed to walk at graduation because his dreadlocks were too long; a Florida boy was turned away from his first day of school because his hair was too long; and a New Orleans-area girl was sent home from school for wearing braids.

"Similarly, numerous Black employees have been told to change their hair because it violated their employer’s dress code.  Some have even been denied employment altogether because of their hairstyles.

"In view of these disturbing facts, fourteen states have enacted statutes prohibiting discrimination on the basis of an individual’s natural hairstyle—in every case with bipartisan support and sometimes even with the unanimous support of both parties.

"While I applaud these states for taking action, this is a matter of basic justice that demands a national solution by Congress.  That is why I strongly support the CROWN Act.  The House passed a nearly identical measure last Congress, and I hope that we will do so again today.

"I thank the Gentlewoman from New Jersey, Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman, for her leadership and for introducing this important bill this Congress.  I urge all members to support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time."