New York City Adds Weight and Height to List of Protected Classes

New York City has added weight and height to the list of identifiers that are protected from discrimination for work, housing, or public accommodation in the Big Apple.

The City Council passed a new measure that adds the two new classes to the old standbys, including sexual orientation, race, gender identity, and national origin, to prevent discriminatory treatment, Fox News reported.

Shaun Abreu, sponsor of the bill, said:

Just recently someone who I considered to be a friend came up to me and touched my stomach and said, ‘We’re getting bigger there, buddy.’ And it just speaks to the toxic culture that exists in the United States when it comes to people that are above their average peers’ weight.

“People with different body types are not only denied jobs and promotions that they deserve, their whole existence has also been denied by a society that has offered no legal remedy for this prejudice,” Abreu said.

“It’s not only protecting people in the workplace from this or in getting apartments, but it’s also about changing culture,” he explained.

While several jurisdictions also ban weight discrimination, Michigan is the only state that has a state-wide ban in place.

Six other cities across the country have similar laws protecting citizens from weight discrimination: Binghamton, New York; Madison, Wisconsin; Urbana, Illinois; Washington, DC; and San Francisco and Santa Cruz, California, CNN added.

The ban on weight discrimination is not total in the Big Apple. Some jobs where weight is a factor — including police and firefighters — have been exempted in the new law.

Meanwhile, the BBC noted that 40 percent of Americans are considered obese, but research also shows that normalizing plus-sized bodies leads to an increase in obesity and the myriad health problems that come with it.

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