This Type Of Discrimination Is Now ILLEGAL In New York City

Written By BlabberBuzz | Tuesday, 28 November 2023 12:00
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New York City has recently passed a groundbreaking law that prohibits discrimination based on height or weight.

This legislation, signed by Mayor Eric Adams, who recently implemented a 5% budget cut across the city, adds height and weight to the list of protected characteristics such as age, gender, race, and religion.

The law places the issue of weight discrimination under the purview of New York's Commission on Human Rights, the entity responsible for addressing discrimination related to other characteristics, including LGBTQ and race. Annabel Palma, the Commissioner, stated during the bill's signing that "Most forms of appearance-based discrimination have persisted unchecked."

City Councilman Shaun Abreu sponsored the bill, inspired by his personal experience of gaining weight during the pandemic and observing a change in how people treated him. Abreu believes that this legislation will discourage employers from discriminating against individuals based on their weight. "It's also about changing the culture in how we think about weight," he added. Lawmakers in Albany are contemplating a similar law.

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Mayor Adams, a health-conscious vegan who has revamped the city's public school lunch program to include a plant-based diet, supported the bill. He stated, "Science has shown that body type is not a connection to if you’re healthy or unhealthy. I think that’s a misnomer that we’re really dispelling." Adams' 2020 book chronicled his journey of losing 35 pounds, as reported by The New York Times.

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Examples of weight discrimination were presented at a City Council meeting earlier this year. A college student complained about the small size of the desks, and under the new law, if she can demonstrate that the small desks are a result of discrimination, she could potentially sue the school. Another woman shared her experience of body shaming and pressure to develop an eating disorder.

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City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams commended the legislation, stating, "All New Yorkers, regardless of their body shape or size, deserve to be protected from discrimination under the law. Body size discrimination affects millions of people every year, contributing to harmful disparities in medical treatment and outcomes, blocking people from access to opportunities in employment, housing and public accommodations, and deepening existing injustices that people face." She added, "New York City is leading the nation with this groundbreaking anti-discrimination law."

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However, the legal implications of the law have raised concerns among business leaders. The New York Times quoted the president of the Partnership for New York City, who expressed concerns that the law could be challenging for businesses to comply with and could potentially burden the judicial system and regulators.

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The movement for fat acceptance and liberation has gained momentum in recent years, although it has been met with some public skepticism. Victoria's Secret, a women's lingerie company, embraced the fat acceptance movement but faced a marketing disaster, forcing them to reverse their stance a few years later.

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The National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance (NAAFA) supported the bill. Tigress Osborn, the chair of the group, said, “This is such a powerful moment for anyone who has ever faced discrimination simply because of the size of their body."

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