New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Friday signed a law banning height discrimination by adding weight and height to the list of protected categories such as race, gender and religion.
“We all deserve the same access to jobs, housing and public accommodation, no matter what we look like, and no matter how tall or heavy you are,” said the mayor, who joined d other elected officials as well as big-ticket supporters during a bill-signing ceremony at City Hall.
Adams, a Democrat who published a book on reversing his diabetes through a plant-based diet, said the ordinance “will help level the playing field for all New Yorkers, create more inclusive workplaces and living environments and to protect against discrimination”.
Exemptions under the ordinance, that the the city council passed this month, include instances where a person’s height or weight could prevent them from performing the essential functions of a job.
Some business leaders voiced their opposition to the legislation when it was before the board, arguing that compliance could become an onerous burden.
“The magnitude of the impact and cost of this legislation has not been fully considered,” Kathy Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said in a statement.
Several other US cities have banned discrimination based on weight and physical appearance, including San Francisco, Washington, DC and Madison, Wisconsin. And legislation prohibiting discrimination based on weight and height has been introduced in states like New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Tigress Osborn, president of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, said New York’s ban on weight discrimination should serve as a model for the nation and the world.
Osborn said the city’s passage of the new ordinance “will reverberate around the world” and show that “discrimination against people because of their body size is wrong and we can change it.”
The order will come into effect in 180 days, on November 22.