Mayor Eric Adams signed into law Friday a bill that prohibits discrimination against anyone based on their height or weight in employment, housing or public places in New York City.
“No one should be discriminated against because of their height and weight. We all deserve the same access to employment, housing and public places, regardless of our appearance,” said Mayor Adams after the signing of the law, promoted by the councilman of Dominican origin Shawn Abreu.
He added that the law will help create more inclusive workplaces and living environments, no matter how tall you are or how much you weigh when you’re looking for a job or trying to rent an apartment.
Councilor Abreu stressed that discrimination based on body size is a problem of social justice and a threat to public health. “People with different body types are denied access to equal pay and job opportunities, and they have had no legal recourse to challenge it.
Worse yet, millions are taught to hate their bodies.”
He recalled that more than 50 years ago a group of people met in Central Park to protest the daily injustices that people face because of their weight.
“While it took too long to enact something so basic and widely endorsed, it stands to reason that the most diverse New York City Council in history is the one to epitomize it in the very city where this movement began,” he said.
The new law, however, contemplates some exception in cases where federal, state or local laws or regulations collect collect the need to carry out certain physical efforts (firefighters or garbage collection employees, for example).
For her part, Human Rights Commissioner Annabel Palma stressed that most forms of discrimination based on appearance have persisted unchecked.
New York City’s Human Rights Law now makes it clear that no one should be denied opportunity based on height or weight in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
In 2019, the city was the first in the country to issue guides to classify as discrimination the fact that a person is the reason for dismissal or harassment due to their type of hair or hairstyle; in those cases, discrimination is punishable by a fine of up to $250,000.