Ep 4 – NY Bans Hair Discrimination + Performance Management Trend

Welcome to the new Workology Go Podcast. In just under five minutes, we get you the HR and workplace news you need before you start your day. Get ready, get set and go with the Workology Go Podcast.

Here are today’s HR and workplace news headlines from Workology Go Podcast. I’m Jessica Miller-Merrell. The Workology Go Podcast is sponsored by HSA Bank.

Story 1: New York City Bans Discrimination based on Hairstyles

If you live in New York City, employers, schools, and clubs that discriminate against natural hair and styles like afros, cornrows and dreadlocks can get a $250,000 fine. News outlet NewsWatch reports this law is the first ever in the U.S. to highlight hair discrimination and the bias against natural and textured hairstyles that disproportionately affects black people. This discrimination ban impacts employers as well as all places of business and public locations.

We’ve included resources from the New York City Human Rights Commission along with their official guidance in the transcript of this episode on the Workology.com website.

This guidance is in direct conflict of a number of past case law where employees tried to make the case that they were discriminated against hairstyles in the workplace. One notable case according to an employment attorney, Jon Hyman is Ewing v. United Parcel Service.

Jon says,

“Ewing challenged UPS’s Personal Appearance Guidelines. With respect to hair color those guidelines stated: “Hairstyles and hair color should be worn in a businesslike manner.” Shenitta Ewing, African American, claimed discriminatory enforcement of the policy to prohibit her from coming to work with fuchsia-colored hair. The court disagreed, citing at least four examples of Caucasian employees fired or discipline because of their “extreme” hair colors.”

This move by New York City seems to challenge the previous case like such the aforementioned. Jon includes in an article published on Workforce.com which I’ll include in the podcast transcript a number of cases on hairstyle discrimination. However, NYC’s guidance here is first. 

While case law might not support this change, I am of the belief that this type of discrimination exists. Time will tell how this change plays out in not just NYC but the rest of the states.

Story 2: Continuous Performance Management

You may remember a few years ago when everyone was throwing away annual performance reviews. Continuous performance management is a growing trend in the HR and workplace industry right now. A recent study from BetterWorks Continuous Performance Management Study found that,

89% of HR professionals agreed that higher levels of performance are driven by more personal interactions and coaching between managers and individual team members - @betterworks study #HR #performancemanagement Click To Tweet

We have lots of great resources to help you learn more about continuous performance management and how to help engage your managers. We’ve included a handful of those links in this episode transcript.

What is Workology Go Podcast?

And that’s this episode of the Workology Go Podcast. We’re your go to for HR and workplace news. To learn more about the Workology Go Podcast, subscribe to us on Apple, Google, and Stitcher. Our podcast is also available on Alexa and Google Home. Learn more at workology.com/gopodcast and access this episodes resources, links and reports for more information.

Featured Story

New York City just Banned Discrimination based on Hairstyles

More Great Resources

Press Release: Hair Guidance NYC

Hair Discrimination: Not a Thing

NY Times: New York City to Ban Discrimination Based on Hair

Ep 43- What is Workplace Discrimination 

Three Reasons to Unmask Your Anonymous Employee Surveys

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.


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