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2024 Labor Law Posters Now Available, Including Mandatory Updates, Click Here To Order!
2024 Labor Law Posters Now Available, Including Mandatory Updates, Click Here To Order!
The 2023 New York City Weight Discrimination Law

The 2023 New York City Weight Discrimination Law

New York City is set to implement a weight discrimination law later this year. This ordinance, signed by the mayor in late May 2023, will prohibit discrimination based on a person's height or weight in various aspects, including employment, housing, and public accommodations. Starting from November 22, 2023, the New York City Weight Discrimination Law will come into force.

Once this new regulation is enacted, the New York City Commission on Human Rights will handle complaints related to height and weight discrimination, in addition to the existing protections for characteristics such as race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, sexual orientation, or gender identity), national origin, age, disability, and genetic information.

However, certain exemptions exist for employers under this law, including situations when height or weight requirements are mandated by federal, state, or local laws and regulations, or when they are essential for normal business operations. If an individual's height or weight would genuinely prevent them from performing the job, and there are no reasonable alternatives, it may also be an exception.

While the New York City Weight Discrimination Law may seem unique, similar laws are in place in other jurisdictions such as Michigan, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. Additionally, some states are considering similar legislation.

With height and weight now considered protected classes, discrimination cases will be handled by city officials similarly to other protected characteristics, allowing employees to seek damages, including back pay and attorney fees.

This development underscores the ongoing challenges that organizations operating in multiple jurisdictions face in terms of employment law compliance. From laws addressing issues like hair discrimination to the emergence of pay transparency laws and the use of AI in hiring, large employers must navigate a constantly changing legal landscape.

Moreover, the recent surge in employment law legislation has led to an increase in class-action litigation, possibly due to the sheer volume of new bills introduced and passed during legislative sessions. Over 110 jurisdictions have their own minimum wage laws, numerous states, counties, and cities have implemented paid leave legislation, and this has resulted in a growing number of updates to labor law posters, with over 650 updates in 2022 compared to 516 in 2021.

In conclusion, businesses with a presence in New York City should prepare for the New York City Weight Discrimination Law. This preparation may involve assessing workplace conditions in certain locations and considering potential accommodations for larger or taller employees. Additionally, when such laws are updated, it's advisable to review internal policies, ensure compliance with the new regulations in company handbooks, and be vigilant about potential compliance issues. Remember that this law will be in effect starting on November 22, 2023.

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