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Title VII's Application of Grooming Policies and its Effect on Black Women's Hair in the Workplace: Secondary Sources

Peer Reviewed Legal and Social Science Journals

Grooming policies that ban ethnic hairstyles is permissible under Title VII and falls under employment discrimination law. This research guide focuses on legal journals available online on LexisNexis and Westlaw, as well JURN, a free online academic database that contains millions of articles.

The William & Mary Law Review:

This is a legal journal that speaks to a variety of legal issues and is helpful to both students and attorneys in better understanding the law. This journal has been persuasive in changing legal and societal views for many years. The William & Mary Law Review Journal has been cited to by the U.S. Supreme Court several times, and many other Circuit Courts. An article helpful to the area of black hair and employment discrimination is Juan Perea’s Ethnicity and Prejudice: Reevaluating "National Origin" Discrimination Under Title VII,  the article was accessed using LexisNexis and was easy to navigate on this platform. The William & Mary Law Review Journal can also be accessed in parts on their website:, where several articles are available to read. This journal provides legal insight written by scholars and students alike, and covers many different legal issues. This journal was founded in 1957, and is still facilitating the publication of cutting edge legal issues. I would use The William & Mary Law Review Journal again because the website is easy to navigate, and the article that was useful for understanding hair as applied to Title VII was a great resource.

The Georgetown Law Journal:

Home to the well-known Georgetown Law School, The Georgetown Law Journal is a great source for a wide array of legal articles. The journal has included an annual review of criminal procedure, and has served as a dependable legal source to practitioners far and wide. The article that is helpful to ethnic hair in employment discrimination is Angela Onwuachi-Willig’s Another Hair Piece: Exploring New Strands of Analysis Under Title VII, and was accessed using LexisNexis. In addition to finding this article on Lexis, The Georgetown Law Journal website:, provides an easy to use online archive with many publications available in PDF form. This website is preferable to The William & Mary Law Review’s website due to the wealth of available free online articles. The first article was published in 1912, and the journal is still producing quality legal articles today. I would consult the Georgetown Law Journal again because it is a reputable legal source for legal analysis and the quality of the academic writing is high.


This is a free online database that has provides free academic journals, theses, and literature. There are more than 3,000 journals linked to the database and include topics of law, science, medical, business, arts and humanities. The website is currently up to date, and is easy to navigate. The search engine works exactly like Google would, where one can enter in a natural word search, which returns helpful results. The article that is helpful for the topic of ethnic hair and employment discrimination is The Politics of Black Women’s’ Hair by Vanessa Kind and Dyieynaba Niably, and can be found at the JURN website at: JURN is the easiest website of all to navigate. I would continue to consult JURN because it is a free tool that has millions of academic articles that are helpful and easy to access.


Practice Aids

Practical Law

Practical Law provides information and helpful practice tools for discreet areas of law. The Practical Law website is owned by Thomson Reuters and runs the gamut from antitrust law, to labor and employment. The types of resources that are available are practice notes, articles, standard documents, and checklists—that can be helpful for many areas of practice. For the purposes of this resource guide, Practical Law provides several different tools: a Dress and Grooming Policy Form, an overview of Race, Color and National Origin Discrimination Under Title VII and Section 1981, and Dress Code and Grooming Policies: Telling Employees What Not to Wear.

Articles and Videos

The ABA Journal has great articles that do in depth reporting on employment law issues. One such article is: Minority women are disappearing from BigLaw--and here's why. This is a thoughtful article that highlights some of the problems inherent in big law firms that predominantly affect black women attorneys. The article discusses how although there have been increases in the amount of women entering law school, the number of women who stay in large firms is declining, and that the numbers for black women are even lower.

Black Women’s Hairstyle Restrictions Contribute to a Less Diverse Workforce:

Many large companies are falling short in the diversity arena. Allowing black women to wear their hair in a natural way or in a myriad of ethnic hairstyles within the work place would allow black women to have access to more jobs, and open the door for them to excel and climb the corporate ladder in ways that might be currently closed off.  Large companies recognize that diversity in the workplace is a thing to be desired, but many large corporations are doing poorly as they try to increase diversity among their employees.  The problem is at the top, according to Fortune, there have only been 15 black CEOs in the history of Fortune 500 companies. Watch these two videos to find out more.



Uncolorblind: Is a blog that strives to discuss areas of diversity in an authentic and nuanced way. Uncolorblind discusses solutions to the problems that face top-level managers and other diverse professionals. The goal of this blog is to help influence change to embrace diversity and inclusion in leading organizations.