NYS Legislature Passes Transgender Anti-Discrimination Law

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

The New York State Legislature recently passed the Gender Expression Non- Discrimination Act (“GENDA”) to prohibit discrimination against individuals based on gender identity and expression. The legislation would add transgender persons to the class of protected classes under the NYS Human Rights law and codify protections found in the Division of Human Rights’ existing regulations. For the purposes of 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." 

GENDA enacts comprehensive protection from discrimination on the basis of a person’s gender identity or expression, including in the workplace. The law specifically prohibits: 

  • discrimination in hiring practices, compensation, and worker training and education programs based on gender identity and expression or termination of employment on the basis of gender identity or gender expression;
  • distribution by employers of publications, advertisements, or applications that indicate discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression;
  • businesses from withholding services, facilities, and/or accommodations from consumers based on gender identity;
  • labor organizations from denying membership to or revoking membership from individuals on the basis of gender identity or expression; and
  • firms or individual lessors, renters, or sellers of real estate from denying housing opportunities on the basis of gender identity expression.

Governor Cuomo has indicated his intent to sign this new legislation, which would then take effect on November 1, 2019. Employers should update their non-discrimination policies and employee training materials as necessary to reflect this new protected class. Please contact any of the attorneys below from our labor and employment practice group if you have any questions regarding GENDA and its provisions.

Richard J. Andino
S. Alexander Berlucchi
Melinda B. Bowe
John R. Langey
Christopher M. Militello
Michael A. Tremont


This communication is not intended to serve as legal advice.
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