Media outlets across the country are addressing controversial laws passed recently in certain states that prohibit transgender individuals from using bathrooms consistent with their identity. New state laws require them to use a restroom consistent with the sexual identity on their birth certificates.
New York City has taken its own stand on this issue
Employers should take note that NYC is the first city in the nation to launch a campaign that grants people in NYC the right to use the bathroom consistent with their gender identity — as opposed to genders indicated on birth certificates.
Ads are appearing all over the city in subway cars, bus shelters, phone booths and newspapers along with digital ads across social media. The ads are appearing in multiple languages, including Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Russian and Bengali. They state, “Use the Restroom Consistent with Who You Are” and “Look Past the Pink and Blue.”
This restriction on restroom use is a new type of discrimination is loosely described as bathroom discrimination.
NY has long been at the forefront against transgender and other discrimination issues
NY Governor Andrew M. Cuomo was the first executive in the nation to issue statewide regulations that prohibited transgender discrimination. The regulations went into effect on January 20.2015. New York has long been a champion of human rights and was also the first U.S. state to enact a general anti-discrimination law in 1945.
Under New York law, human rights violations can carry penalties and civil fines up to $50,000. If “willful, wanton or malicious” discrimination fines and penalties may go up to $100,000 and have no caps on compensatory damages awarded to individuals.
Stephen Hans & Associates is an employment litigation firm that defends small and medium sized businesses in discrimination, labor law and other employment related matters.