Federal Court Rules Utah’s Anti-Hair Braiding Law Unconstitutional
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Jestina Clayton (photo: Jim Urquhart, Associated Press)
Jestina Sunkarie Bangura-Clayton has won her legal case against the state of Utah, which tried to force her to obtain a cosmetology license for her hair-weaving business.
Clayton’s part-time work came to a halt in 2009 after state officials told her she needed a cosmetology license to charge for African hair braiding. The refugee from Sierra Leone objected, arguing that the license would have required her to spend 2,000 hours and thousands of dollars on cosmetology classes, most of which had nothing to do with her line of work.
With the help of the Institute for Justice, Clayton sued in federal court. There, District Court Judge David Sam ruled the state had wrongly applied its Cosmetology Act and licensing regulations against her.
“Utah’s regulations do not advance public health and safety when applied to Jestina because Utah has irrationally squeezed ‘two professions into a single, identical mold,’ by treating hair braiders—who perform a very distinct set of services—as if they were cosmetologists.”
To Learn More:
Federal Judge Strikes Down Utah’s Hairbraiding Licensing Scheme (Institute for Justice)
Utah Licensing Law Is Unfair to Hair Braider (by Jonny Bonner, Courthouse News Service)
Hair-Braider Sues over Utah Law Requiring Cosmetology License (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Jestina Clayton v. Mark Steinagel (U.S. District Court, Central Utah) (pdf)
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