Six months after being signed by Mayor Eric Adams, a new city law banning discrimination based on height or weight has gone into effect, according to New York Times.
The law adds these two categories to the list of characteristics that are protected from discrimination in employment, rental housing and public accommodations, along with age, gender, race, religion and sexual orientation.
“All New Yorkers, regardless of body shape or size, deserve protection from discrimination under the law,” New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and City Council Member Sean Abreu said in a joint statement.
“Body size discrimination affects millions of people every year, contributing to harmful disparities in health care and outcomes, preventing people from accessing opportunities in employment, housing and public spaces, and deepening existing inequities that people face,” it adds. statement.
The City Council approved the bill back in May.
Mayor Eric Adams signed it that same month, saying big people should not be treated differently in hiring.
“Science has shown that body type has nothing to do with whether you are healthy or unhealthy,” said Adams, who in 2020 authored a book on how to lose 35 pounds. “I think that’s a misconception that we’re trying to debunk.” At a City Council hearing earlier this year, several New Yorkers spoke about the harmful effects of weight discrimination.
Thus, one New York University student said that the desks in the class were too small for her, and a Metropolitan Opera singer said that she was shamed for her figure and almost developed an eating disorder.
Legislators in New Jersey and Massachusetts are considering similar measures, and the states of Michigan and Washington have already enacted anti-discrimination bans.
Abreu, who sponsored the New York bill, said it would raise awareness and protect people from employer bias. “It's also about changing the culture around weight,” said the council member, who said he himself was treated differently after gaining weight during the pandemic.
The City Human Rights Commission will investigate all complaints of weight discrimination. About 42% of American adults are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.