New York City mayor signs ban on weight and height discrimination

The new law will ban discrimination based on natural hair or hairstyles.

FILE -- On Aug. 16, 2016, two women stood in New York. New York City Mayor Eric Adams has signed a law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of body size. The bill was signed Friday, May 26th, 2023. It adds weight and height to protected categories such as race, sex, and religion.

Mark Lennihan/AP

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has signed a bill that bans discrimination on the basis of body size. The legislation adds weight and height to protected categories like race, gender and religion.

The mayor said that everyone should have the same opportunity to access employment, housing, and public accommodations, no matter what their appearance is. He also joined other elected officials and fat acceptance advocates for a City Hall ceremony where they signed a bill.

Adams, a Democrat

Published a book

The ordinance, which was enacted in response to a New Yorker's request for help reversing diabetes by adopting a plant-based lifestyle, "will level the playing fields for all New Yorkers and create more inclusive living and working environments and protect against any discrimination."

The ordinance passed by the City Council this month includes exemptions for cases where an individual's weight or height could prevent them from performing the essential functions of their job.

When the bill was being considered by the council, some business leaders were against it. They argued that the burden of compliance would be too great.

In a press release, Kathy Wylde said that the Partnership for New York City's president and CEO, Kathy Wylde had not fully assessed the cost and impact of this legislation.

San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Madison, Wisconsin, and other U.S. Cities have also banned discrimination on the basis of weight and appearance. New Jersey, Massachusetts and other states have introduced legislation that bans weight and height discrimination.

Tigress Osborn is the chairperson of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance. She said that New York City's ban on weight discrimination should be a model to the rest of the country and the world.

Osborn stated that the city's new ordinance will'reverberate across the globe', and that it "will show that discrimination against people because of their size is wrong. We can change this."

In 180 days, the ordinance will come into effect on November 22.