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  • Writer's pictureNathalee Jennings

From San Francisco to New York City: The Fight Against Height and Weight Discrimination Ordinances

Updated: Jun 16, 2023

In recent years, the fight against discrimination has gained significant momentum nationwide. Recognizing the importance of equal treatment and opportunities for all, various cities and jurisdictions have implemented legislation to address discrimination in multiple forms. One such issue gaining attention is height and weight discrimination, which has become the focus of a new ordinance in New York City.


The San Francisco Ordinance: Pioneering a New Frontier

San Francisco has long been at the forefront of progressive policies and social justice initiatives. In 2019, the city made history by becoming the first in the United States to pass a height and weight discrimination ordinance. The ordinance addressed discrimination against individuals based on height and weight, particularly in employment and housing.

BMI
BMI Scale

The San Francisco ordinance recognized that biases against individuals due to physical appearance perpetuate harmful stereotypes and limit opportunities. It mandated employers, landlords, and housing providers refrain from discriminating against individuals based on height and weight, ensuring a fair and equal playing field for everyone.


The Expansion to New York City

Inspired by San Francisco's groundbreaking efforts, New York City has recently implemented a similar height and weight discrimination ordinance. This latest ordinance seeks to combat individuals' unfair treatment in areas such as employment, housing, and public accommodations within the city.

New York City, known as the melting pot of diversity and culture, has always been at the forefront of promoting inclusivity and equality. With the adoption of this ordinance, the city further reinforces its commitment to eradicating discrimination in all forms and embracing the uniqueness of its residents.


Key Provisions of the New York City Ordinance

The height and weight discrimination ordinance in New York City shares similarities with its San Francisco counterpart but includes certain unique provisions tailored to the city's specific needs. Some key provisions of the ordinance include:

· Employment Protections: Employers are prohibited from discriminating against applicants or employees based on their height and weight, which ensures that individuals are evaluated based on their qualifications and abilities rather than their physical appearance.

· Housing Equality: Landlords and housing providers are barred from denying housing or imposing discriminatory conditions based on an individual's height or weight. Everyone has the right to secure safe and suitable housing without facing prejudice.

· Public Accommodations: Public places, such as restaurants, stores, and entertainment venues, must provide equal treatment and accessibility to all individuals, irrespective of their height or weight.


Impact and Significance

The height and weight discrimination ordinance in New York City marks another crucial step forward in the ongoing battle against discrimination. By explicitly protecting individuals from biases rooted in physical appearance, the law aims to foster an environment where diversity and inclusivity are celebrated, and opportunities are accessible to all.

This legislation sends a powerful message that people should be evaluated based on their skills, qualifications, and character rather than on societal stereotypes and biases. It also challenges traditional beauty standards, encouraging society to embrace body positivity and recognize that value is not determined solely by physical attributes.


Adopting San Francisco's height and weight discrimination ordinance by New York City marks a significant milestone in the fight against discrimination. Employers in New York City must take proactive measures to comply with this ordinance and foster inclusive work environments that celebrate diversity. By revising policies, providing training, and implementing reporting mechanisms, organizations can ensure fair treatment for all employees.


JenningsHRS stands ready to support employers in navigating these compliance challenges. Our expertise in HR consulting can assist organizations in adapting to these changes effectively. Together, we can create workplaces where individuals are valued for their skills and contributions, irrespective of their height or weight. Let's work towards a more inclusive and equal future!

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