State Watch

Adams signs law banning discrimination based on weight and height

New York City Mayor Eric Adams listens to Gov. Kathy Hochul deliver her State of the State address in the Assembly Chamber at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023, in Albany, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) signed a bill into law on Friday to ban discrimination based on someone’s weight or height in employment, housing and public accommodations. 

Adams said in a release that the law will “level the playing field” for residents and create more inclusive workplaces. The New York City Council overwhelmingly voted to pass the bill in a 44-5 vote earlier this month to have the city’s anti-discrimination policies cover both actual and perceived height and weight. 

“No one should ever be discriminated against based on their height and weight. We all deserve the same access to employment, housing, and public accommodations, regardless of our appearance,” Adams said. “It shouldn’t matter how tall you are or how much you weigh when you’re looking for a job, are out on the town, or trying to rent an apartment.” 

The release states that the law includes an exemption for employers who need to consider height and weight in employment decisions as required by federal, state or local laws or regulations or when the city’s Commission on Human Rights allows it as necessary for someone to perform the job’s essential duties. 

The law will also allow operators or providers of public accommodations to consider height or weight in their decisions. 

“Size discrimination is a social justice issue and a public health threat. People with different body types are denied access to job opportunities and equal wages — and they have had no legal recourse to contest it. Worse yet, millions are taught to hate their bodies,” New York City Council member Shaun Abreu (D), the bill’s sponsor, said in the release. 

With Adams’ signature, New York joined a few other cities like San Francisco and Madison, Wis., that have banned weight discrimination. Michigan is the only state that has passed a state law declaring weight a protected category, while the Washington Supreme Court has ruled that its anti-discrimination law covers weight.

Tags discrimination protection employment Eric Adams Eric Adams Housing New York City New York City Commission on Human Rights New York City Council public accommodations public health weight discrimination

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