Gov Pete Ricketts Vetoed Nebraska Bill That Would Ban Natural Hair Discrimination

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The California state assembly has passed a bill banning employers from discriminating against people with natural hair. It now heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom's desk to be signed into law, making it the first statewide ban on natural hair discrimination.

Last month we shared that there was a Bill in Nebraska that was being negotiated in order to end discrimination based on natural hair and styles.

A few of the senators voted “no” to the bill questioning whether or not this bill was necessary and if it would make it so employers would have to allow for things like Mohawks or be unable to follow safety and sanitary guidelines.

Read that post here if you missed it.

Nebraska

Fast forward to today!

Sadly, according to Omaha.com News LINCOLN — Gov. Pete Ricketts, during a rally, announced that he vetoed a bill that would ban discrimination against Black people based on their naturally curly hair.

One supporter of the hair bill said she was disappointed and suspicious of the veto of Legislative Bill 1060.

“It seems like a cop-out to what the real issue is,” said Ashlei Spivey of Omaha, the founder, and director of the group I Be Black Girl, which seeks to help Black women and girls reach their full potential.

Spivey was one of several Black women who supported LB 1060, which sought to expand the definition of race to protect people from discrimination in the workplace when they wear their hair in natural styles.

Ricketts, in his veto message, said that he agreed with the goal of the bill but that some hairstyles, such as locks, braids, and twists, are not exclusively worn by one race.

He also said the bill would hinder employers from enacting grooming standards related to safety, such as precautions needed for food handlers or machinery operators.

The governor said he would work with supporters of LB 1060 to amend the bill and get it passed next year because “clearly” Black people and others should not be discriminated against in the workplace for their natural hair.

Sen. Machaela Cavanaugh of Omaha, who made the bill her priority for the session, said it was unfortunate that Ricketts never communicated his concerns about the bill.

She said she worked with the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office and others to amend the bill, and felt that the governor’s concerns had already been addressed.

Spivey said that after she stopped chemically straightening her hair and let it grow out naturally curly and kinky, she lost her job.

Her employer asked, “When are you going to get your other hair back?” she said. Spivey said she was also told that it was “intimidating” when she wore her hair in braids and twists.

Other women related similar stories during a public hearing on the bill in February.

“This is a time when Nebraska workplaces need to be more inclusive,” Spivey said. At least six other states have adopted similar laws.

Because LB 1060 was vetoed after the 2020 session adjourned, senators don’t have an opportunity to try to override the veto.

Nebraska

Now yall!

Just this month we shared a post of News Anchor Symone Woolridge who had to defend herself after being attacked publicly for showing up on air with braids!

We also shared a new study conducted at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business proving bias and discrimination against natural black hairstyles in the workplace. This study is public knowledge and trending on Google everywhere. 

How does a Governor justify vetoing a bill that protects the rights of individuals he has sworn to protect, on the basis of “employers not being able to enact grooming standards” and “other races wear braids too?”

Make it make sense! 

I agree with Ashlei Spivey, that the reasons given are cop-outs. Hair discrimination is race discrimination period!

Last year the Washington Post reported that the business community was not pushing back on the new Crown Act laws and they still are able to enforce grooming standards within their workspaces without discrimination.

“At a time when diversity issues are getting more attention, employment lawyers say the new state laws did not face significant opposition from the business community.

And they said that while some grooming policies may specifically prohibit certain styles, more common are general guidelines that call for “professional” or not “extreme” looks that can disproportionately lead to bias against black employees or students.”

Gov. Ricketts, you need to take another look sir, and this time do it with a bit more care and consideration for all of the folks living in your State.

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