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Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act

Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act

Governor Cuomo recently amended the New York State Human Rights Law to now prohibit discrimination by employers against individuals on the basis of their gender expression or identity. The new law, Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), went into effect at the end of last month.

Under the law, employers cannot take discriminatory actions against individuals, specifically when it comes to hiring or firing them, on the basis of a wide variety of characteristics, including sex, race, disability, sexual orientation, pregnancy, and national origin. Now, those categories also include gender identity or expression.

The law considers “gender identity or expression” broadly. The definition could include an individual’s actual or perceived gender-related “identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.”

In general, gender identity means the individual’s perception of his or her own sex, regardless of the sex that was assigned to him or her at birth. Gender expression includes outward appearances and expressions instead of an individual perception. Gender expression could involve mannerisms, clothing, behavior, or voice.