Gender identity and gender expression will now be protected under New York State’s anti-discrimination law. Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) into law on January 25, 2019.
GENDA prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression. The law 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.
The New York State Division of Human Rights adopted regulations in 2016 banning discrimination and harassment on the bases of gender identity, gender dysphoria, and transgender status (see 9 NYCRR §466.13). GENDA now classifies those protections as law.
Beyond employment discrimination, GENDA also prohibits discrimination in housing, education, and public accommodations, among others, based on gender identity or expression. Moreover, GENDA amends New York State Penal Law and Criminal Procedure to classify certain offenses related to gender identity or expression as hate crimes.
Most of GENDA becomes effective 30 days after Governor Cuomo’s signature. However, the provisions amending the state’s penal code and criminal procedure will not be effective until November 1, 2019.
Goldberg Segalla advises employers to revisit their employment handbooks and ensure that all of the protected classes in federal and state law are listed.
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