New York State Passes GENDA. How will it affect your business?

On January 25, Governor Cuomo signed into law the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) banning discrimination against transgender and non-binary employees working in New York. GENDA amends the State Human Rights Law to make it unlawful for employers to discriminate against applicants and employees based on their gender identity and gender expression.  It is now unlawful for employers to discriminate against transgender applicants, employees and anyone expressing their gender identity. To clarify, the term “Gender Identity or Expression” is defined as a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristics, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, and including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender. GENDA also prohibits discrimination by educational institutions, creditors, and landlords.

New York City employers have been aware of this issue for many years. In 2002, the New York City Council passed the Transgender Rights Bill to expand the scope of the gender-based protections guaranteed under the New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) and to ensure protection for people whose “gender and self-image do not fully accord with the legal sex assigned to them at birth.” The City’s intent in amending the law was to make explicit that the law prohibits discrimination against people based on gender identity.

“Gender Identity/Gender Expression: Legal Enforcement Guidance.” NYC, Workers’ Compensation Board,