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Discrimination Based on Protective Hairstyles Prohibited in Delaware

On April 13, 2021, Delaware Governor John Carney signed legislation (SB 32) amending the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act by:

  • Adding protective hairstyles, which includes braids, locks, and twists, to its list of protected classes; and
  • Updating the definition of race to include traits historically associated with race, including hair texture and a protective hairstyle.

Under these amendments, employers are prohibited from taking the following actions based on an individual’s race, including their hair texture and protective hairstyle:

  • Failing or refusing to hire, discharging, or otherwise discriminating in their pay, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment; or
  • Limiting, segregating, or classifying them in any way that deprives them of work or otherwise adversely affects their employee status.

The legislation took immediate effect.

HR Works, Inc., headquartered in Upsate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.