The regulations will go into effect Wednesday, and affirm that transgender individuals are protected under the state’s Human Rights Law, Cuomo’s office said.
The law already prevents employers, housing providers, businesses, and creditors from discriminating against people based on race, creed, color, age, and other attributes, and now also includes transgender status.
“Today we are sending the message loud and clear that New York will not stand for discrimination against transgender people,” Cuomo stated. “It is intolerable to allow harassment, or discrimination against anyone, and the transgender community has been subjected to a second-class status for far too long. This is an issue of basic justice, and I am proud that New York is continuing to lead the way forward.”
Cuomo announced his plans for the new regulations back in October, after the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) failed to pass the Republican-led Senate. He currently used the power of executive order to make the new provisions under the law, which was first enacted in 1945.
“If the division determines there is probable cause to believe harassment or discrimination has occurred, the Commissioner of Human Rights will decide the case after a public hearing, and may award job, housing or other benefits, back and front pay, compensatory damages for mental anguish, civil fines and penalties, and may also require policy changes and training as appropriate,” the state said. “Civil fines and penalties can be up to $50,000 or up to $100,000 if the discrimination is found be ‘willful, wanton or malicious’ and, unlike under federal law, compensatory damages to individuals are not capped.”
Currently, Conservative groups are reportedly planning to challenge the measure.
Nineteen states and the District of Columbia also prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals.