News Department

Senate Labor Committee releases bill to address height, weight discrimination

NEW JERSEY – In a major action taken to update and reform state civil rights law, the Senate Labor Committee passed legislation sponsored by Senator Andrew Zwicker that would prohibit discrimination against persons because of their height or weight.

“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,” said Senator Zwicker (D-Middlesex/Mercer/Somerset/Hunterdon). “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 would add height and weight to the list of protected qualities, under civil rights law, which currently includes, but is not limited to, race, creed, color, sexual orientation, familial status, disability, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States, nationality, sex, gender identity or expression and, source of lawful income used for rental or mortgage payments.

This legislation is modeled after the civil rights law in Michigan, which prohibits discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and public service on the basis of height or weight, among other reasons for discrimination.

The bill provides exceptions for employment and public administration for bona fide occupational qualifications and safety reasons, respectively.

The bill, S-1602, was released from committee by a vote of 3-0.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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