Adams signs height, weight discrimination ban into law

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NEW YORK -- Mayor Eric Adams signed a bill banning discrimination based on height and weight, potentially putting pressure on cities around the world to follow suit.

With the stroke of a pen, actually many pens because he wanted to hand them out a souvenirs, Adams outlawed height and weight discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations.

"We all deserve the same access to employment, housing and public accommodation regardless of our appearance and it shouldn't matter how tall you are or how much you weigh," said Adams.

Weight discrimination is widespread, but reportedly hits women the hardest, especially women of color. And they're paid less. A study by Vanderbilt University found overweight women earning $5.25 less per hour, a so-called wage penalty.

"It helps level the playing field for all New Yorkers," said Adams.

The law has an exemption when a person's weight or height would prevent them from performing a job's essential requirements, the mayor said.

Six other cities and the state of Michigan also ban height and weight discrimination.

Tigress Osborn, chair of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, said New York City's law will help bring about change around the world.

"We all know, New York is the global city and this will ripple across the globe in terms of showing to people all over the world that discrimination against people based on their body size is wrong and is something that we can change," said Osborn.

Three months ago, Osborn led a size freedom rally to push for the law.

"We can't legislate attitudes, but we can do everything that's in our power to ensure that people are treated equally," said Osborn.

City Council Member Shaun Abreu, who sponsored the bill, said the first rallies to end height and weight discrimination took place over 50 years ago in Central Park.

"This is a new day in New York City and I couldn't be more grateful," said Abreu.

In addition to wage penalties, supporters said body discrimination can sometimes deny people life-saving medical treatment and cause mental health challenges.

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