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Empire State Pride: Governor Cuomo Creates New Class of Protected Citizens Using New York State Regulatory Process
On October 22, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his plan to use New York State’s regulatory process to create a new state-wide protected class of citizens. This proposed state regulation – the first in the Nation to create a protected class using the regulatory process – will provide all transgender New Yorkers with the same standard of protection afforded to New York’s transgender state employees since 2009, and other protected classes of New Yorkers since 1945.
Although New York City eliminated gender identity discrimination through a 2002 amendment to the New York City Human Rights Law, this proposed New York State regulation will prohibit discrimination throughout all New York counties and municipalities, banning discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
Based on a modified interpretation of the New York Human Rights Law, this state-wide regulation will prohibit both public and private entities from discriminating and harassing individuals on the basis of gender identity, transgender status, and gender dysphoria (a recognized disability under New York State law). Promulgation of this state-wide regulation will also require employers and businesses to provide reasonable accommodations to individuals alleging gender dysphoria. The regulation will be formally published in the state registry on Nov. 4 and will be subject to a 45-day notice-comment period before implementation.