RIBA and the Halo Code
The RIBA has signed the Halo Code – the UK’s first Black hair code – to protect the rights of staff who come to work with natural hair and protective hairstyles associated with their racial, ethnic, and cultural identities.
The Halo Code was developed by the Halo Collective and brings together organisations and schools who have made a commitment to work towards creating a future without hair discrimination.
Signing the Halo Code and embedding it into policies is part of our work to make our workplace and the wider architecture profession more inclusive.
RIBA Director of Inclusion and Diversity, Marsha Ramroop said:
“We are committed to nurturing a culture where our staff feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work. Despite being a protected racial characteristic, hair discrimination remains a source of injustice. By signing the Halo Code, the RIBA is taking a stand for racial equity. I encourage our members and practices to join us in driving out all forms of discrimination by adopting the Code too.”
The Halo Code Declaration
Our workplace champions the right of staff to embrace all Afro-hairstyles. We acknowledge that Afro-textured hair is an important part of our Black employees’ racial, ethnic, cultural, and religious identities, and requires specific styling for hair health and maintenance.
We celebrate 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.
In this workplace, we recognise and celebrate our colleagues’ identities. We are a community built on an ethos of equality and respect where hair texture and style have no bearing on an employee's ability to succeed.
- Race-based hair discrimination is illegal under the Equalities Act 2010. Workplaces have the right to enforce a dress code as long as it is fair and does not unduly discriminate against any staff. Policies and practices that prohibit hairstyles which are primarily used to maintain Afro-textured hair can lead to indirect discrimination.
- The Halo Code focuses on hair textures and styles most commonly associated with the Black community. The term Black has historically been used as a racial and political label. Here, we use it to refer to members of the African diaspora, including those with mixed heritage, who as a result of their ancestry have Afro-textured hair.
- The Halo Code is a gender neutral policy.
- In order to embody the sprit of The Halo Code, all staff are encouraged to familiarise themselves with different Afro-textured hairstyles and their cultural significance, and to avoid labelling Afro-textured hair with terms such as messy, unprofessional, or inappropriate.
- The Halo Code does not prevent workplaces from issuing additional guidance around Afro-texture hair and protective styles if applied consistently across all students and staff, including:
- That head wraps and scarves should reflect other elements of the uniform code such as the school’s colours.
- That hair be tied up for health and safety reasons, such as during sports, science labs, or to avoid trip hazards.
- That hair colour is reflective of wider school uniform policy.