SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California lawmakers are set to talk about a new measure that could protect a person’s hairstyle or hair texture from discrimination.

Senate Bill 188 would add to the list of things the California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects.

Employers would be prohibited from enforcing policies surrounding “race neutral” grooming – policies that critics say disproportionately impact people of color.

Sen. Holly J. Mitchell (D-Los Angeles) is sponsoring the bill. Her office notes that federal anti-discrimination laws defend afros, but are silent on other hairstyles commonly worn by black men and women – “protective hairstyles” like braids, locs and twists.

The current California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects characteristics like race, religious beliefs, sex and age.

If passed and signed into law, SB 188 would expand those characteristics to include ” traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, and would define protective hairstyles for purposes of these provisions.”

The initial hearing for the bill is slated to begin in the California State Senate Judiciary Committee early Tuesday afternoon.

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