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Weight, height discrimination law takes effect in New York City

On Behalf of | Jun 29, 2023 | Discrimination

Discrimination in the workplace can be harmful and hurtful to victims, who often experience professional damage and emotional distress when mistreated. To stop discrimination, federal, state, and local laws exist to prohibit such misconduct, and they are changing all the time.

The most recent efforts to combat discrimination include a bill passed by the New York City Council and recently signed by Mayor Eric Adams. Going into effect on November 22, 2023, the law prohibits discrimination against people based on height and weight.

Weight bias legislation

Discriminating against someone because of their appearance is not new or uncommon. Employers, landlords, and operators of public accommodations often make judgments and decisions based on appearance. In some cases, these decisions are lawful; in others, they are not.

The recently-signed legislation prohibits discrimination based on an individual’s height or weight. However, the law carves out exceptions for certain situations where a person’s weight and height would affect their ability to perform essential job functions.

Supporters of the law say that it protects people against adverse treatment toward workers based on perceptions that they are unhealthy or lazy. Critics counter that the law is unnecessary and may impose a burden on the court system and employers, as enforcement will likely require legal action.

Identifying weight-inclusive workplaces

Despite the benefits of the new law, not all employers will eagerly comply. It can therefore help to know some signs of an inclusive workplace that treats people fairly, regardless of appearance.

One sign is a clear policy against discrimination based on physical attributes. You can also watch out for troubling, if not illegal, practices like asking job or housing applicants for photos or placing restrictions on altering appearance in a contract.

Any person who is the target of these unlawful practices should know they now have the law on their side. Talking to an attorney can help you protect your rights.

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The Attorneys of Katz Melinger PLLC