[UPDATE February 12, 5:55pm] The New Jersey state Senate on Monday voted 22-14 to approve the bill to expand the state’s Law Against Discrimination to include weight and height as protected characteristics.
“Roughly 40 percent of adults struggle with obesity and their weight, and about 20 percent of children, but this sort of discrimination and bias goes well beyond societal impacts of what we have imposed as a norm,” the bill’s sponsor, Senator Andrew Zwicker, said in a statement.
“With this needed change, we will make our laws specific to weight and height discrimination, and will provide protections for a significant number of New Jerseyans.”
The bill still has to pass the Assembly, where it has yet to receive a committee vote.
Original story below:
The New Jersey state Senate Labor Committee approved a bill today which aims to ban weight and height discrimination.
The bill, which was introduced by Senator Andrew Zwicker (D-Middlesex), would expand the state’s Law Against Discrimination to include weight and height as protected characteristics.
The current Law Against Discrimination protects race, origin, age, gender identity, marital status, disability, and nationality in areas of employment, education, housing, public accommodations, and public service and elsewhere.
The bill provides exceptions for employment and public accommodation for bone fide occupational qualifications and safety reasons, respectively.
If enacted, New Jersey would be just the second state in the nation to prohibit discrimination against someone because of their body size or shape. Michigan is the only such state with similar laws.