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The Skinny on NYC’s New Law: Height & Weight Bias Illegal.

New York City remains at the vanguard of prohibiting newly recognized forms of discrimination, recently enacting an ordinance that prohibits employers and others from discriminating on the basis of weight and height. NYC also recently joined a growing “mane-stream” of jurisdictions prohibiting hair discrimination.
The NYC ordinance on weight and height became law at the end of May and contains a few exceptions. Employers may make decisions based on height or weight if:
  • Required by federal, state, or local law or regulation;
  • Regulations by the NYC Commission on Human Rights permit such considerations for jobs in which the individual’s height or weight could prevent the person from performing the job (big sigh of relief from the Brooklyn Nets); or
  • The employer can prove an individual cannot perform the essential requirements of the job due to the individual’s height or weight, even with an accommodation, or the employer’s decision is reasonably necessary for the normal operations of the business.
Short, fat, bald workers are sure to be celebrating in Times Square (and Michigan, DC and San Francisco, which have similar laws). As of press time, we could not confirm reports that NYC is changing its size-conscious nickname from “The Big Apple” to “The Shapeless, Sizeless Fruit of Your Choice.”

Michael Homans is an employment lawyer and litigator based in Philadelphia and Wayne, Pennsylvania. He can be reached at or (215) 419-7477.

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