The New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”) issued a notice seeking comments on proposed rules that will define violations and outline the scope of protections against discrimination with respect to gender identity or expression under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) on July 18, 2018.  The proposed rules address a wide range of workplace discrimination situations including forms of address, dress codes, insurance benefits, leaves and accommodation requests. New York employers should be aware of the proposed scope of the rules and begin preparations now to ensure compliance.

The NYCHRL prohibits discrimination in employment based on actual or perceived sex, gender identity, and gender expression, including a person’s actual or perceived gender-related self-image, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth. The proposed rules define a number of gender-related terms, such as: “sex,” “gender,” “gender identity,” “gender expression,” “cisgender,” “gender non-conforming,” “intersex,” and “transgender.”

The proposed rules set out certain unlawful discriminatory practices based on gender identity or expression, such as:

  1. Deliberate misuse or refusal to use an individual’s chosen name, pronoun or title, the actions are motivated by such individual’s gender.   This includes refusing to use the designated name, pronoun or title unless verified by legal name change or requiring proof of medical procedures related to gender change.
  2. Refusing to allow individuals to use single-sex facilities or participate in single-sex programs consistent with their gender identity such as the use of restrooms, locker rooms, or requiring proof of gender to do so.
  3. Imposing different dress or grooming standards based on gender, including uniform and jewelry choices.
  4. Failing to provide equal employee benefits regardless of gender that will include coverage for transition-related care or gender-affirming care such as hormone replacement therapy or hormone suppressors, psychological or psychiatric treatment, voice training, or surgery.

The proposed rules may be found here.  Pursuant to the rule making process, the Commission will hold a public hearing on the proposed rules on September 25, 2018.