Magic circle firm Linklaters said today it has adopted a ‘black hair code’ to protect staff who come to work with Afro-hairstyles such as braids, cornrows, twists and afros.

The firm has added the hair code to its dress code policy in order to ‘explicitly protect’ black staff with natural hair and protective hairstyles. While hair is a protected racial characteristic under the Equalities Act 2010, Linklaters said hair discrimination remains a source of racial injustice for black people in the UK.

David Martin, global diversity partner at Linklaters, said: ‘At Linklaters we are committed to being home to a culture and environment in which racial, ethnic, cultural and religious identities are celebrated and individuals feel comfortable to bring their whole selves to work. We pride ourselves on our values of respect, integrity and inclusion and stand against all forms of racism and discrimination.’

Last year, the firm acknowledged it lacked black racial diversity and set three ‘aspirational’ targets: 15% black and underrepresented minority ethnic partners by 2025; 15% underrepresented minority ethnic partners in new partner elections annually; and five times as many black partners globally by 2027.

The hair code was developed by the Halo Collective, an organisation that works with employers to tackle hair discrimination. The ‘Halo Code’ celebrates ‘Afro-textured hair worn in all styles including, but not limited to, Afros, locs, twists, braids, cornrows, fades, hair straightened through the application of heat or chemicals, weaves, wigs, headscarves, and wraps’.