On January 25th, 2019 Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) which bans discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The statute defines “gender identity or expression” as a “person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.”
GENDA requires that gender identity and expression be treated as a protected class similar to race or sex. This means that employers in New York cannot hire, terminate, or discriminate against any employee on basis of their gender identity or expression. This measure will also extend to landlords and other places of public accommodation across New York.
The work place discrimination provisions already took effect on February 24th, 2019. Thus, employers should take extra care to ensure all of their policies and procedures comply with GENDA and any necessary changes should be implemented swiftly.
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