Discriminating against someone because of height or weight when it comes to work, housing or in public accommodation is now barred in New York City. The law, passed on Friday, May 26th, amends the New York Human Rights Law to add weight and height to the list of identifiers that are considered protected, like race, sexual orientation, gender identity and national origin.
“People with different body types are not only denied jobs and promotions that they deserve, their whole existence has also been denied by a society that has offered no legal remedy for this prejudice,” said Councilmember Shaun Abreu, who sponsored the legislation.
“While this law won’t magically end anti-fatness or body-shaming, it is an important step for providing legal protections to people of all body sizes and backgrounds, especially people of color and trans people who suffer disproportionately from anti-fat bias,” said a Fat Legal Advocacy, Rights, and Education (FLARE) spokesperson.
The new law carves out exceptions for employers who need to consider height or weight as a “bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business.” It would similarly exempt “operators or providers of public accommodations only where height or weight requirements would qualify as bona fide considerations of public health and safety.”
New York has joined a handful of cities in the country with similar protections, including Michigan; Washington D.C.; San Francisco and Santa Cruz in California; Binghamton, New York; Urbana, Illinois; and Madison, Wisconsin.
If you have been the victim of discrimination or have questions about your rights as a worker, contact the attorneys of Pechman Law Group at 212-583-9500.