‘Sue Anyone and Everything:’ New York to Protect Obese People from Discrimination

New York City has passed a controversial “weight discrimination” bill. The bill, set to be signed into law by Democrat New York City Mayor Eric Adams this month, would outlaw discrimination based on a person’s ‘height or weight’ in ’employment, housing, and public accommodation.’

Councilman Shaun Abreu, one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said he decided that weight discrimination was a “silent burden” that needed addressing when he was treated differently after gaining more than 40lbs during the lockdown. “They’re being discriminated against with no recourse and society saying that’s perfectly fine,” he said.

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The law was also supported by several activists and charity groups, including charities including the self-named “Fat Fab Feminist”  Victoria Abraham, who testified to the city council in support of the legislation earlier this year.

‘”In most places in the United States, you can get fired for being fat and have no protection at all, which is crazy because this is a very fat country.” she told ABC7NY.

“Walking into a job interview as a fat person, I’m already at a disadvantage,” said Victoria Abraham. “I know that whatever my qualifications are, my weight is a con.“I know that at least when I get a job, if I’m experiencing this discrimination, I have someone supporting me. I have the support of the government; I have legal protection where there wasn’t any before.”

Advocacy director National Association for the Advancement of Fat Acceptance Tegan Lecheler, who also worked on the bill,  said she hoped the legislation would “encourage a larger conversation of framing this beyond health.”

 

“It’s not a health issue. It’s a civil rights issue. This is really about if people are safe and protected and have the right to be in spaces.”

While the bill seems harmless on the surface,  Republican New York City council minority leader Joseph Borelli raised concerns that it will empower people to “sue anyone and everything.”

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Councilman Borelli told the New York Times his concerns as well. “I’m overweight, but I’m not a victim. No one should feel bad for me except my struggling shirt buttons,” he said jokingly.

Due to this, some regulations in defense of employers are included in the bill, allowing them to consider height or weight when it’s “reasonably necessary” for the “normal operations” of a job.

The bill received widespread support and passed 44-5 in the council on Thursday. San Francisco, Washington DC, and Michigan already have a similar law, while New York State, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Jersey are considering joining them.

And with that, overweight individuals are in a civil-rights-protected class in New York City. Which group will be added next to the seemingly infinite list is anybody’s guess.

Some observers on Twitter are not happy with the development.


 

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