One could easily assume that New York State and New York City share identical laws giving equal protections for victims of workplace discrimination, with employees failing under a myriad of protected classifications.  Unfortunately, despite it being 2013, this is not the case in fact.  In particular, despite great strides having been made in protecting the civil rights of the gay and lesbian community in New York State, like the legalization of same-sex marriage, many, if asked, would still tell you that they are in constant fear of workplace discrimination and violence, simply because of their sexual orientation.

The New York State legislature is looking to further remedy this ongoing problem of sexual orientation discrimination with the recent proposal of the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which calls for protections against discrimination for New York’s transgender and gender-nonconforming population. With its enforcement the Act will outlaw discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

GENDA passed the Assembly a few weeks back, but there seems to be a lone wolf seeming to undermine and prevent this Act from becoming law, New York’s State Senate Conservative Party.  The Senate Republican’s opposition is based on the inability n getting reelected in areas that typically do not support expansion of civil rights for the gay and lesbian community.  Unsurprisingly, this is not reason that has been declared by the State Senate Republican leadership.

“Naturally, we’re opposed to it,” said Michael Long, chairman of the New York Conservative Party, in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “They should be protected, as we all are. We are for equal rights for all human beings. There is no need to create special classifications for individuals.”

Fortunately, the measure has some powerful Democratic sponsors, which could be enough to barely carry the bill. Versions of it have been pushed for years by gay and transgender advocates who won the landmark law legalizing same-sex marriage in 2011.

Additionally, the District of Columbia, 16 states and several cities already have passed similar laws protecting gender identity and expression.  New York City is also among the cities with protections for gender identity.  Let’s follow suit and bring these protections to all the citizens of New York State.

As always, if you believe you or your family member was and/or has been discriminated against in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact the employment discrimination attorneys at the Law Office of Risman & Risman, P.C. at (212) 233-6400 or contact us online.


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