27 May 2023

New York outlaws discrimination due to weight and height

27 May 2023

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has signed legislation which will ban discrimination due to weight and height.

The legislation, which will be introduced in November after being passed by the city council this month, adds to the protected categories including race, sex and religion.

Signing the bill at City Hall on Sunday, the mayor said: “We all deserve the same access to employment, housing and public accommodation, regardless of our appearance, and it shouldn’t matter how tall you are or how much you weigh.”

The Democrat, who published a book about reversing his diabetes through a plant-based diet, said the bill “will help level the playing field for all New Yorkers, create more inclusive workplaces and living environments and protect against discrimination”.

Exemptions include cases in which a person’s height or weight could prevent them from performing essential functions of a job.

Some business leaders expressed opposition, arguing that compliance could become an onerous burden.

Several other US cities have banned discrimination based on weight and physical appearance, including San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Madison, Wisconsin, while legislation to ban weight and height discrimination has been introduced in states including New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Tigress Osborn, the chair of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, said New York City’s weight discrimination ban should serve as a model for the nation and the world.

She said the city’s adoption of the new ordinance “will ripple across the globe” and show that “discrimination against people based on their body size is wrong and is something that we can change”.

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