On January 25, 2019, Governor Cuomo signed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act, known as “GENDA.”

GENDA explicitly prohibits discrimination based on “gender identity or expression,” which is defined as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including, but not limited to, the status of being transgender.” GENDA includes amendments to New York’s Executive, Civil Rights, Education, and Penal law to make it clear that discrimination against any person because of their gender identity or expression constitutes an unlawful employment practice and an unlawful educational practice.

For more than a decade, this bill consistently passed through the New York State Assembly, only to be rejected by the New York State Senate.  In response, Governor Cuomo issued an Executive Order in 2015 prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity.  In addition, courts in New York state have already interpreted state law to prohibit discrimination based on gender stereotypes or gender identity.  GENDA’s legislative memorandum indicates that the law “is intended to codify this principle and to ensure that the public understands that discrimination on the basis of gender identity and expression is prohibited.”

GENDA will take effect thirty days after being signed into law, with the exception of the amendments to the Penal law, which will take effect on November 1, 2019.

For more information, please contact Daniel J. Moore at 585-419-8800 or dmoore@harrisbeach.com or the Harris Beach attorney with whom you usually consult.

This alert does not purport to be a substitute for advice of counsel on specific matters.

Harris Beach has offices throughout New York State, including Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Melville, New York City, Rochester, Saratoga Springs, Syracuse, Uniondale and White Plains, as well as New Haven, Connecticut and Newark, New Jersey.