When Tyeastia Green went to a job interview at Eden Prairie, a company representative told her she was a great candidate, but said she should change her hair. The information technology worker went home, took out the cornrows and straightened her hair. She went to the next interview and was hired.
By the time she meets her team leader for coffee, her hair is back in cornrows. Her boss refused to shake her hand, suggesting she was for a low-profile, low-paying job.
Green, who is black, finds that her job offer has been rescinded and replaced by an inexperienced white man.
That was in 2012, but Green said the experience still haunts her.
“I really struggled with my self-esteem when everyone on the team said they didn’t want me on there,” Green said Thursday.
People with a color like green will receive more protection in the workplace. Minnesota state legislature Thursday passed CROWN law, which stands for “giving respect for natural hair and creating an open world.” passed. It prohibits discrimination based on hair texture or type and will soon be signed by Governor Tim Waltz. The bill added a definition of race to the Minnesota Human Rights Code. This includes associated features such as braids, twists, locks and other hairstyles.
“The Crown Act is really important. I don’t want other people of color to go through what I went through,” Green said.
Similar laws have been passed in 14 other states. The federal bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives in her 2022, led by black women lawmakers, including Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar, but was defeated in the Senate.
Led by Sen. Bobby Joe Champion (DFL-Minneapolis), the state bill provides clarity for employers and an opportunity for the Minnesota Department of Human Rights to investigate and provide information to employers.
“The legislation’s clarity not only helps educate employers, but also provides some safety and comfort for employees who want to wear their natural hair.
He said it was important for Minnesotans to have a welcoming work and school environment, especially as the makeup of the state and country changed. It does not apply to unpopular colors and does not replace military or security laws, Champion said.
Champion said, “We want a clear and great work environment so that people can grow without feeling ostracized if they decide to wear their natural hair, no perms, straight combs, etc.” I want to create a ,” he said. teeth. “
DFL Apple Valley Senator Erin May Quaid, one of three black women in the Senate, told the Chamber of Commerce on Thursday about her first performance review in which she was praised, but her expertise She was told to do something about her hair outside. Years later, that experience still influences how she ties her hair.
Some Senate Republicans wanted the beard to be included in the law. Senator Steve Draskowski (R-Winona) has raised potential discrimination against the Amish culture, as represented on the television reality show “Duck Dynasty.”
The bill was created to address common challenges reported in schools and workplaces, Champion said. He added that a beard could be added in the future.
Melissa Taylor, who runs The Beauty Lounge in Minneapolis, said banning hair discrimination is a first step toward more acceptance of black and brown hair.
Before attending cosmetology school, Taylor had worked in the corporate world and had seen how the pressure to abandon certain styles weighed on women of color. I remember pausing the meeting to comment on
“I think people have been coming to terms with themselves and the way their hair grows out of their heads since the natural hair movement started.” , I think it helps people start accepting themselves more.”
A multicultural salon, she said, is a place that serves clients of all hair types and where people can feel a sense of belonging. One of the first things to do, Taylor said, is key to the company’s efforts to bring more people of color into the state.
The move toward natural hair acceptance has been a relief over the years for Green, who has moved through the world of work with her natural hair.
“People are starting to pay attention and realize that this is really happening to people. No,” Green said.