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The New York State legislature and Governor Andrew Cuomo have started off 2019 by passing a law which protects LGBTQ workers. On January 25, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (“GENDA”). While New York City Human Rights Law already prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression, GENDA now provides that same protection state-wide.
First introduced in 2003, GENDA makes gender identity and gender expression as protected classes under New York States Human Rights Law (“NYSHRL”) Under GENDA, “gender identity or expression” is defined 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.” As a result, discrimination against an employee on the basis of gender identity, expression, or transgender status is now illegal in the workplace.
New York employers need to review their workplace anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies to ensure that discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression is prohibited, in compliance with GENDA. With the new harassment training requirements under New York law, employers should also include examples of gender identity or expression and transgender status discrimination in their workplace trainings.