21.06.2024

Fat people now officially a protected group in NYC after Eric Adams signs discrimination law

Obese people are now officially a protected group in  after Mayor Eric Adams signed a controversial discrimination law. A new bill signed last Friday makes it illegal for employers and landlords to discriminate against someone based on their weight or height when it comes to hiring them or securing housing.

The law — which comes into effect November 2 — means weight and height are now added to the list of protected categories that includes traits such as race, sex and religion.

Mr Adams said: ‘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.’

The law had already triggered outrage in some quarters, with Republican New York City council minority leader Joseph Borelli claiming it will empower people to ‘sue anyone and everything’.

Mr Adams, who has published a book on how he reversed his diabetes with a plant-based diet, said the law would ‘help level the playing field for all New Yorkers, create more inclusive workplaces and living environments, and protect against discrimination’

It comes as US health officials said rates have soared to ‘epidemic’ proportions, with the obesity rate rocketing to 42 percent nationally

It comes as US health officials said rates have soared to 'epidemic' proportions, with the obesity rate rocketing to 42 percent nationally

Mr Adams, who has published a book on how he reversed his diabetes with a plant-based diet, said the law would ‘help level the playing field for all New Yorkers, create more inclusive workplaces and living environments, and protect against discrimination’.

Exceptions to the rule include cases where someone’s height or weight might stop them from performing critical parts of the job.

But the legislation was met with fierce opposition.

Kathy Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, said that ‘the extent of the impact and cost of this legislation’ had not been ‘fully considered’.

The bill had the support of charities and activists like self-styled ‘Fat Fab Feminist’ Victoria Abraham who testified to the city council in support of the legislation earlier this year.

Councilman Shaun Abreu, one of the bill’s main sponsors, said he realized weight discrimination was a ‘silent burden’ after being treated differently when he gained more than 40lbs during lockdown.

The bill had the support of charities and activists like self-styled ‘Fat Fab Feminist’ Victoria Abraham who testified to the city council in support of the legislation earlier this year.

It is set to include a defense for employers where consideration of height or weight was ‘reasonably necessary’ for the ‘normal operations’ of a job.

Exceptions to the bill include cases where someone's height or weight might stop them from performing critical parts of the job

Exceptions to the bill include cases where someone’s height or weight might stop them from performing critical parts of the job

Councilman Abreu said: ‘They’re being discriminated against with no recourse and society saying that’s perfectly fine.’

Miss Abraham, who campaigns for civil rights for overweight people, testified to the city council to help inform policymaking.

She told ABC7NY: ‘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.’

Councilman Borelli told the New York Times: ‘I’m overweight but I’m not a victim. No-one should feel bad for me except my struggling shirt buttons.’

Michigan outlawed workplace discrimination based on weight in 1976 and other cities including San Francisco and Washington DC have similar legislation.

Other state-level bills have now been introduced in New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, and New Jersey.

New Jersey and Massachusetts have also introduced legislation to stop weight and height discrimination.

Tigress Osborn, the chair of the National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance, said New York City’s weight discrimination ban should serve as a model for the nation and the world.

Ms Osborn said the city’s adoption of the new ordinance ‘will ripple across the globe’ and show that ‘discrimination against people based on their body size is wrong and is something that we can change’.

It comes as US health officials said rates have soared to ‘epidemic’ proportions, with the obesity rate rocketing to 42 percent nationally.

Experts say the shift has been driven by people starting to eat more ultra-processed foods, which are high in fats, sugars and salts but low in vital nutrients.

Americans have also started to have more sedentary lifestyles and office-based jobs, while many in rural communities are now living in food deserts.

Being overweight puts you at a higher risk of a host of health problems, including high blood pressure and cholesterol — risk factors for heart disease — type 2 diabetes, and breathing problems.

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