New York City Mayor Eric Adams signed a law on Friday banning discrimination based on body size by adding weight and height to a list of protected categories such as race, gender and religion.
said the mayor, who joined elected officials as well as fat-admissions advocates at the city hall’s bill-signing ceremony.
Adams, a Democrat who has published a book about reversing diabetes through a plant-based diet, said the law “will help level the playing field for all New Yorkers, create more inclusive workplaces and living environments, and protect against discrimination.”
Exemptions under the ordinance, which was passed by the city council this month, include cases where an individual’s height or weight may prevent them from performing the essential functions of the job.
Some business leaders expressed opposition to the legislation when it was before the council, arguing that compliance could become onerous.
“The impact and cost of this legislation has not been fully considered,” Cathy Wild, president and CEO of the New York City Partnership, said in a statement.
Several other US cities have banned discrimination based on weight and physical appearance, including San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Madison, Wisconsin. Legislation banning weight and height discrimination has been introduced in states including New Jersey and Massachusetts.
Banning weight discrimination in New York City should be a model for the nation and the world, said Tigress Osborne, president of the National Association to Promote Fat Acceptance.
Osborne said the city’s adoption of the new law “will spread across the world” and show that “discriminating against people based on their body size is wrong and it’s something we can change”.
The decree will take effect within 180 days, on November 22.