New York State Bans Transgender Discrimination
On January 25, 2019, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill which will amend the New York Human Rights Law and prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in housing, employment and public accommodations.
The ban on anti-transgender discrimination is known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, or GENDA. “Gender identity or expression” is defined as “a person’s actual or perceived identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.”
Governor Cuomo already issued an Executive Order in 2015, to prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity, transgender status and gender dysphoria, however, some have expressed concern that the executive order could be rescinded by a successor governor. Now that the prohibition is memorialized in a statute, it will be much harder to repeal. One thing the Act adds to the current law is certain offenses motivated by gender identity and expression will now be listed as hate crimes in the State Penal Code.
The Act came into effect on February 25. The provisions of the Act which make crimes motivated by gender identity or expression a hate crime, will become effective on November 1.
Employers in New York state should review their nondiscrimination and anti-harassment policies and procedures, and amend them as necessary. They should also properly train their staff to ensure they specifically include gender identity and gender expression as protected classes.
Brody and Associates regularly provides counsel on civil rights issues and employment laws in general. If we can be of assistance in this area, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203.454.0560.