On May 26, 2023 NYC’s Mayor Adams signed Intro. 209-A into law, which will prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person’s height or weight in employment, housing, and public accommodations. The bill becomes effective on November 22, 2023.
This law permits employers to make decisions based on applicants’ and employee’s height or weight only under very limited circumstances. 209-A — will prohibit discrimination on the basis of a person’s height or weight in employment, housing, and public accommodations. This law will also create an exemption for employers needing to consider height or weight in employment decisions only where required by federal, state, or local laws or regulations or where the Commission on Human Rights permits such considerations because height or weight may prevent a person from performing essential requirements of a job and no alternative is available or if the height and weight criteria is reasonably necessary for the normal operation of the business.
This bill would similarly permit consideration of height or weight by operators or providers of public accommodations. Covered entities under this law would have an affirmative defense that their actions based on a person’s height or weight were reasonably necessary for normal operations.
The new law also permits employers to offer incentives that support weight management as part of voluntary wellness programs.
While there are no immediate steps to be taken now in response to this new law, employers should begin taking steps to be in compliance by November 22, 2023, including: updating the employee handbook and anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies to ensure height and weight are included as protected categories; and review any positions for which there are height/weight requirements to understand the need for these criteria.
If you have any questions, please reach out to PMP.