Understanding The Impact of New York’s GENDA

GENDA transgender

As you may have heard, The New York State Assembly and New York State Senate passed Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) last month. We welcome its passage as the The New York City Hospitality industry has always strived to be inclusive.

Specifically, GENDA will add Subdivision 35 to Section 292 of the NYSHRL, which defines “gender identity or expression” 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.”

Additionally, GENDA will add “gender identity or expression” to the NYSHRL, the Civil Rights Law, and the Education Law as a protected characteristic and prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in employment, housing, education, and public accommodations. Although New York currently has regulations in place— promulgated by the New York State Division of Human Rights in 2016—prohibiting discrimination and harassment on the basis of gender identity, gender dysphoria, and transgender status, GENDA will codify those regulations into law.

Most importantly, the law will prohibit discrimination against transgender and non-gender confirming individuals. We’ll work hard to ensure that our members know the law, update their policies to ensure compliance and continue to welcome all employees and customers.

The bill was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo after its approval by the State’s Senate and Assembly. GENDA passed in the Assembly by 100-40 and was approved by a vote of 42-19 in the Senate, both with bipartisan support. It will, among other things, amend the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) to prohibit discrimination against transgender and non-gender conforming individuals.

Milea February 2019 728×90

Accordingly, even though New York already has regulations prohibiting discrimination on the basis of gender identity and transgender status, employers should contact counsel to review—and if necessary—revise their current employee handbooks and policies to ensure compliance with GENDA.

Among the highlights of bringing (GENDA) into law, is the end of “conversion therapy”. “As the most progressive state in the nation and as the home of the modern LGBTQ rights movement, New York has always been on the front lines fighting for full protections for every individual,” Cuomo said at the signing ceremony at the New York City LGBT Community Center.

By signing into law GENDA and a ban on the fraudulent practice of conversion therapy, we are taking another giant step forward in advancing equal justice for every New Yorker – regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We are once again sending a clear and proud message that there is no place for hate in our state, and anyone who engages in bigotry and discrimination will be held accountable.”

GENDA provides unequivocal and comprehensive protections for transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, public spaces, and education. Cuomo’s signature signals that New York now becomes the 21st state in the nation to add gender identity as a protected class to the state’s non-discrimination laws. New York also now joins fourteen other states and the District of Columbia by making illegal the practice of “conversion therapy.”

NYC Hospitality Alliance members have access to a team of leading professionals that can answer additional questions.

The Fox Rothschild’s Labor & Employment Department, who we are proud to call members of the Alliance are available for consultation. Contact Carolyn D. Richmond at 212.878.7983 or crichmond@foxrothschild.com, Glenn S. Grindlinger at 212.905.2305 or ggrindlinger@foxrothschild.com

Andrew Rigie
Andrew Rigie is the Executive Director of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, a trade association formed in 2012 to foster the growth and vitality of the industry that has made New York City the Hospitality Capital of the World. Learn more at thenycalliance.org/