January 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 18

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January 15, 2021

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New York State Passes the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act

After 16 years of debate and discussion, the New York State Legislature recently passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (“GENDA”), which would amend the New York State Human Rights Law to expressly prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression.

Under the Act, 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.” Under existing provisions of the New York State Human Rights Law, employees who successfully establish claims of discrimination are entitled to back pay and compensatory damages. The Act also expands New York’s hate crime laws to include crimes against transgender and gender non-conforming people.

The legislation has been sent to Governor Cuomo, who is expected to sign the bill. If signed, the Act will be effective thirty days after it is signed, with the exception of certain amendments relating to the hate crime laws, which will not become effective until November 1, 2019.

Notably, the New York City Human Rights Law currently prohibits discrimination based on gender identity or expression. Nonetheless, if and when the state legislation is signed, employers should review their existing policies, including their non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies, to ensure that they are in compliance with these state law requirements.

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© 2020 Proskauer Rose LLP. National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 17
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About this Author

Evandro Gigante Labor and Employment Lawyer Proskauer Rose Law FIrm
Partner

Evandro Gigante is a partner in the Labor & Employment Law Department and co-head of the Employment Litigation & Arbitration group and the Hiring & Terminations group. He represents clients through a variety of labor and employment matters, including allegations of sexual harassment, race, gender, national origin, disability and religious discrimination. Evandro also counsels employers through reductions-in-force, employee relations issues and other sensitive employment matters.

With a focus on discrimination and harassment claims,...

212.969.3132
Arielle Kobetz, Proskauer Law Firm, Labor and Employment Attorney
Associate

Arielle Kobetz is an associate in the Labor & Employment Law Department. She assists employers in a wide range of areas, including discrimination, wage and hour, and traditional labor.

Prior to joining Proskauer, Arielle served as a law clerk at the New York City Human Resources Administration, Employment Law Unit, where she worked on a variety of employment discrimination and internal employee disciplinary issues. 

212-969-3304
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