As previously reported, the New York City council passed a bill prohibiting discrimination on the basis of an applicant or employee's actual or perceived height or weight. On May 26, 2023, New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed the bill into law. The bill amends the New York City Human Rights Law to add "height" and "weight" to its list of protected classes and becomes effective on November 22, 2023.
While there are no immediate steps to take in response to the bill, employers should take the following steps prior to November 22, 2023:
- Revise equal employment opportunity and harassment policies to include height and weight as protected characteristics;
- Review current employment policies and practices to ensure workers are evaluated on their skills and performance rather than their physical appearance;
- Consider incorporating examples of discrimination on the basis of height or weight into training programs and materials; and
- Be cognizant of necessary adjustments that may be needed in physical spaces, like larger armchairs or step stools.
Notably, the bill permits employers to offer incentives that support weight management as part of a voluntary wellness program.