Monday, May 11, 2015

Tennessee Licensing Rules Upheld on Rational Basis Standard

Tennessee Licensing Rules Upheld on Rational Basis Standard

In a recent decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, the dismissal of a challenge to cosmetology licensing requirements was upheld applying the rational basis standard.  Natu Bah v. Attorney General of the State of Tennessee, Case No. 14-5861 (6th Cir. May 8, 2015).

            Tennessee, presumably like all other states, regulates those involved in the cosmetology industry. In the case of Tennessee, there are variety of types of licenses which may be awarded. Requirements for those licenses typically require either practical or classroom instruction.  One license category a relates to people who are engaged in the hair weaving and similar industry, which does not entail dying or otherwise chemically treated hair.

This suit, brought by a number of persons who are involved in that hair braiding industry, sought to challenge the licensing requirements on the basis that, inter alia, the required instruction did not contribute to their skills and ability as here weavers and as such was substantively a relevant to their area of practice. 

The trial court disagreed, and it's ruling was affirmed by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  Applying rational basis scrutiny, the court found that the rules for the cosmetology license were not it rationally related to the requirements.  “The sanitation courses in courses on breeding, however basic, or rationally related to Tennessee's legitimate interest in the safety and health of their residence.”

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