Mayor Eric Adams has signed an amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) that will make height and weight discrimination illegal within the city as of November 22, 2023. The issues of height and weight discrimination are often overlooked, but an increasingly prominent issue in employment law. This would address those concerns by making it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on their height or weight unless one of a handful of exceptions applies.
What Are Height and Weight Discrimination? Height and weight discrimination is when an employer chooses to make employment decisions against an employee based on their actual or perceived height or weight, when it would not be appropriate to do so. In some circumstances, it may be appropriate in order to fulfill certain job requirements, or when it is necessary for performing essential duties related to a job. In most other cases, however, this sort of conduct will now be prohibited. What Does Height and Weight Discrimination Look Like? Height and weight discrimination looks very similar to other types of discrimination, ranging from explicitly refusing to hire someone based on their actual or perceived height or weight, to refusing to give them raises or wages, to disproportionately punishing employees for small errors. It may also mean the enforcement of arbitrary rules that have no purpose other than to make life more uncomfortable for those who do not fit their employer’s ideal body image. Like any other type of discrimination, it can not only make working for an employer incredibly uncomfortable, it can also hinder professional advancement and job opportunities. Why is This An Issue? The problem of height and weight discrimination has become an increasingly serious issue over time as employees face difficulties due to their height or weight. In most cases, a person’s height or weight has little bearing on their character or competence to carry out their jobs, but it is nevertheless held against them by their employers. This can sometimes coincide with disability discrimination, given how often disabilities can impact a person’s physical fitness or their weight. How Could This Affect Employees? For employees working in New York City, this law could have a significant impact on their legal rights once it comes into effect on November 22. However, to know what impact it could have on your rights, you should speak to a lawyer with experience handling discrimination claims. They can help you to explore your potential legal options and determine what may work best for your legal strategy. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 42 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.