The bill, introduced by Council Member Shaun Abreu last Spring, would amend the city’s code to prohibit “discrimination on the basis of a person’s height or weight in opportunities of employment, housing, and access to public accommodations.”
The bill is currently in committee hearings, according to the council’s legislative website. The bill has racked up 33 co-sponsors, surpassing the necessary 26 yes-votes needed to pass, and Mayor Eric Adams has signaled his support for the legislation, the Post reported.
“This was long overdue as a civil rights issue,” Abreutold The Washington Post. “It’s super important that we treat everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve. At the end of the day, this is about job security, this is about housing security. If someone looks a certain way, if someone is of a different body size or has higher weight, who cares?”
Last month, Abreu said he was “honored to stand with” the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, which has also expressed support for the bill.
“Together, we’ll build an inclusive world that celebrates our differences,” Abreu said in a tweet.
According to the bill’s text, it would permit an exception for employers who need to consider height or weight as a “bona fide occupational qualification reasonably necessary to the normal operation of the business.” It would similarly exempt “operators or providers of public accommodations only where height or weight requirements would qualify as bona fide considerations of public health and safety.”
Size-based protections already exist in Michigan and Washington state. Lawmakers in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Jersey are also considering similar measures, the Post reported.
Some 30.7% of US adults are overweight, and 42.4% are obese, according to the 2017-2018 data (the most recent available) from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
If you are a victim of employment or housing discrimination, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE case evaluation.