Wisconsin residents are protected from a wide range of discrimination in the workplace, including discrimination based on race, gender and more. However, as cultural norms evolve, workers could see new protections. The outcome of proposed workplace discrimination protections in another state could ultimately cause ripples that spread out across the rest of the nation.

In the city in question, black workers will now be able to wear their hair naturally without fear of repercussions from their employers. Before this change, employers frequently required their black employees to alter their natural hair. These workers were often forced to either cut or chemically alter their hair or face retaliation or even termination.

Although there were many complaints regarding the treatment of black workers over their natural hair in New York City workplaces, the driving point for this change happened outside the workplace. A 16-year-old was told that he would have to cut off his natural hair if he wanted to continue competing in a high school wrestling match, which prompted backlash from many people. As such, the city’s guidelines on anti-discrimination against black people’s natural hair extends outside of the workplace, to areas like schools, gyms and other areas.

Black workers have long complained that employers use guidelines regarding hair in the workplace as a subtle form of discrimination. Subtle or not, workplace discrimination puts victims in Wisconsin at a distinct disadvantage both economically and in their professional careers. Victims who successfully pursue civil suits against offending employers not only achieve compensation for their own damages, but can also implement important changes for the future.