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New York protects workers via new GENDA law

New York State passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) on February 24, 2019. It bans discrimination in the workplace based on a person's gender identity or expression of a preferred gender. A gender identity consists of an individual's real or perceived gender, including the individual's physical appearance, expressions or general behavior. GENDA protects transgenders and others who do not identify with their birth genders.

GENDA adds additional protection for employees who are harassed at work. Older regulations prohibited employment discrimination based on age, religious beliefs, national origins and disabilities. According to GENDA, employers cannot refuse to hire job applicants because of their gender identities or expressions. Additionally, employers are not allowed to fire employees because of their gender identities. The anti-discrimination law also applies to employment agencies and occupational training programs. Discrimination in the workplace based on a person's gender or gender identity is now a serious offense.

Business entrepreneurs operating their companies or corporations in New York should review their employment policies regarding discrimination in the workplace. Otherwise, they risk facing lawsuits. Previous policies regarding sexual harassment also need revamping. New wording should show that any type of sexual harassment at work also includes workers displaying various gender expressions. In addition, it is against the new law to make fun of employees who choose to express their genders in unique ways. Another issue facing employers pertains to whether employees who relate to other genders should have their own private restrooms.

Employers need to ensure that their workers understand the new law. Employees who harass other workers who have gender-related identities or expressions risk losing their jobs. Individuals who believe they are experiencing employment discrimination based on their gender identities should contact an employment discrimination lawyer. Employers and employees must abide by the new law.

Source: The National Law Review, " Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) Takes Effect in New York," February 28, 2019

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