Discriminating against someone because of weight when it comes to work, housing or in public accommodation would be barred in New York City under a bill passed Thursday by the City Council.
The measure would amend city law to add weight and height to the list of identifiers that are considered protected, like race, sexual orientation, gender identity and national origin.
“People with different body types are not only denied jobs and promotions that they deserve, their whole existence has also been denied by a society that has offered no legal remedy for this prejudice,” said Councilmember Shaun Abreu, who sponsored the legislation.
He said New York would join a handful of cities in the country with similar protections. Michigan is the only state with a law that expressly bans weight discrimination, while in Washington state, a court ruled that obesity is covered under an anti-discrimination law for employees with disabilities.
A few other states have had legislation introduced on the issue for consideration.
The New York City bill carves out exemptions such as jobs where height or weight considerations are integral to the role being performed.
It now goes to Mayor Eric Adams, who has said in the past that weight shouldn’t be a basis for treating people differently. There was no immediate response to an email sent to his office seeking comment.