The state governor of New York signed a newly approved nondiscrimination law on January 25th, 2019 that changes the way employees in the state use restrooms, among other things.
Since 2008, the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) has passed the Assembly 10 times, only to consistently fail in the State Senate. The passing of GENDA on January 25, 2019 means that New York has joined 19 other states that prohibit gender discrimination based on gender expression and/or identity.
The bill also adds gender expression and/or identity protection to the state’s hate crimes law.
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act
The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act was first introduced years ago. GENDA prohibits employers from discrimination against individuals based on their gender expression and/or identity. It also protects individuals in the areas of housing and public accommodations.
The New York Division of Human Rights had previously adopted regulations in 2016 that banned harassment and discrimination on the basis of gender identity and transgender status, which GENDA now makes statewide law.
Defining Gender Identity and/or Expression
According to the newly approved GENDA law, gender identity and/or expression is defined as an individual’s actual gender-related behavior or their perceived gender-related behavior, appearance, identity, or expression, regardless of the sex assigned to them at the time of their birth. This includes the status of being transgender.
The passing of the new law means that employees will be able to choose which workplace and public restroom to use regardless of the gender assigned to them at birth.
New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL)
With the passing of the GENDA bill, a person’s gender expression and/or identity will be included in protected categories under NYSHRL. Prior to the passing of GENDA, the New York State Human Rights Law prohibited employment discrimination based on factors including, but not limited to sex, race, age and disability. It did not include gender expression and/or gender identity.
New York State Employer Responsibilities
The GENDA bill being passed means that employers will be responsible for the proper accommodations for individuals who are already employed, and who are planning or are already in the transitioning stage.
Employers are also responsible for updating their employment policies as well as their handbook, so that it complies with the NYSHRL. They must also enforce the changes, and note that updating their policies and handbook are only the first steps in complying with the GENDA bill.
Red Bank Employment Discrimination Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Represent Victims of Workplace Discrimination
Workplace discrimination that is based on an individual’s race, age, sexual orientation, or gender expression and/or identity should never happen. When it does, it is important to take appropriate legal action.
If you or someone you know were the target of workplace discrimination based on gender expression and/or identity, the Red Bank employment discrimination lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. are here to fight for your rights. For a free consultation contact us online or call 888-396-0736, our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, or our Marlton office at 856-985-9800. We proudly serve clients in Middletown, Cherry Hill, and across New Jersey.