Lawmakers In New York City Have Passed a Bill That Bans Weight Prejudice

The New York City Council voted Thursday to prohibit height and weight discrimination in employment, housing, and public facilities throughout the state.

The proposal, which the council passed by a 44-5 vote Thursday, amends the city’s administrative code to mention height and weight — both perceived and actual among a list of protected categories.

“It’s official! The New York City Council has voted to ban weight and height discrimination in NYC!” announced the nonprofit National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance.

The bill allows “employers needing to consider height or weight in employment decisions” in some cases, where permitted by law or where the physical factors are critical to “performing essential requirements of a job and no alternative is available” or where the criteria are “reasonably necessary for the normal operation of the business.”

Lawmakers In New York City Have Passed a Bill That Bans Weight Prejudice

“People with different body types are not only denied jobs and promotions that they deserve,” said Councilmember Shaun Abreu, the bill’s sponsor. “Their whole existence has also been denied by a society that has offered no legal remedy for this prejudice. Until today.”

During the voting, Abreu stated that “size discrimination” affects 2 million New Yorkers yearly. He listed examples of people who said they faced the issue at work, such as a luxury brand specialist who was told her “baby weight” didn’t “fit with the company image” and a student who “was made to feel like she didn’t belong” when she requested an accessible desk at school.

“With today’s vote, New York City will become the largest municipality in the country and the world to have these protections,” added Abreu. “With the passage of this bill today, we will go a long way toward changing the culture around weight.”

Only Michigan has a state-level law declaring weight as a protected category. Weight-based discrimination is prohibited in only a few other localities, including San Francisco and Madison, Wis.

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