Committees approve hairstyle discrimination and nicotine regulation bills; job applicant discrimination bill carried over

Bills that were in committee this week included:

HAIR STYLE DISCRIMINATION
On a 5-4 vote Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved SB265 by Sen. Rodger M. Smitherman, D-Birmingham. The bill would prohibit those who employ five or more from discriminating against an applicant or employee based upon the applicant or employee’s racial or ethnic hairstyle and would create a cause of action against an employer who does so. “Workplace dress code and grooming policies that prohibit natural hair, including afros, braids, twists and locks, have a disparate impact on Blacks as these policies are more likely to deter Black applicants and burden or punish Black employees than any other group,” the legislation states. The bill makes it illegal for an employer, employment agency or labor organization, including on-the-job training programs, to fail or refuse to hire, to discharge any individual, or to otherwise discriminate against an individual, based on the individual’s hair texture or hairstyle, if that hair texture or hairstyle is commonly associated with a particular race, ethnicity or national origin. The bill awaits consideration by the full Senate.

CAUSE OF ACTION FOR JOB APPLICANT DISCRIMINATION
Wednesday, March 10, the House Judiciary Committee carried over HB87 by Rep. Rolanda Hollis, D-Birmingham, which would make it unlawful for an employer, employment agency or labor organization to discriminate against an applicant or employee based upon the applicant or employee’s race, religion, sex, age, disability, or national origin and would create a state cause of action against employers.

Other bills that have received committee consideration include:

FREE TRIAL PRODUCTS OR SERVICES MANDATE
The House Commerce and Small Business Committee on March 3 approved HB454 by Rep. Jamie Kiel, R-Russellville. The bill would require a company offering a free product or service trial to include in that offer a clear and conspicuous explanation of the price that will be charged after the trial period ends or the manner in which the subscription or purchasing agreement pricing will change upon the conclusion of the trial period. Among other provisions, it makes it illegal to charge for an automatic renewal or continuous service without first obtaining the consumer’s affirmative consent and requires a toll-free number, email address, postal address or other “easy-to-use mechanism” for cancellations. “Currently, Alabama law doesn’t require businesses to disclose after a free trial expires,” Kiel told the committee. The bill awaits consideration by the full House.

Find a status update on bills that have moved out of committee below:

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