New York City unveils new rules on gender discrimination

The transgender flag

The transgender flag

NEW YORK — New York City‘s human rights commission is rolling out new enforcement guidelines that could lead to fines for business owners, landlords and employers who discriminate against people based on their perceived gender identity.

The new guidelines, to be released by New York City’s Commission on Human Rights on Monday afternoon, are aimed at making it clear that the city’s gender discrimination law also applies to discrimination against people who identify as transgender and those who consider themselves gender non-conforming. The guidelines were provided to The Associated Press ahead of the official release.

“Far too often, transgender and gender non-conforming individuals suffer discrimination, harassment and violence on a scale many cannot imagine,” said Carmelyn P. Malalis, New York City’s Human Rights Commissioner. “New York City does not and will not tolerate discrimination on the basis of gender identity or gender expression.”

Those caught violating the city’s human rights law could be fined up to $250,000 if officials can prove the violations were based on willful or malicious conduct.

Under the city’s human rights law, it is illegal to treat someone “less well than others” because of their gender.

It also is unlawful for an employer to refuse to hire or promote people who identify as transgender and illegal to fire or give different work assignment or benefits to someone because of their gender.

The guidelines also warn that businesses cannot enforce rules about dress codes, uniforms or grooming standards that are different because of sex or gender. For example, officials said it is illegal to require employees of one gender to wear a uniform or to require men to wear ties in order to dine at a restaurant.

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