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New regulation adds Gender Identity as a protected class in New York

May 26, 2016

On May 18, 2016, 19 NYCRR §175.17 was amended to add “Gender Identity” as a protected class under the New York Human Rights Law.   This was done in conjunction with those protections recently given to victims of domestic violence.  REALTORS should be aware that such protections are given by New York State and the National Association of REALTORS.

The regulation is a part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push for fair housing enforcement and the elimination of discriminatory practices.  In order to achieve this, the governor proposed a number of regulatory amendments.  One amendment relates specifically to “Gender Identity."  According to the regulation, “Gender identity means having or being perceived as having a gender identity, selfimage, appearance, behavior or expression whether or not that gender identity, self-image, appearance, behavior or expression is different from that traditionally associated with the sex assigned to that person at birth.”   Included within the definition of “Gender Identity” is “Transgender” and “Gender Dysphoria.”  The regulation does this by modifying the definition of “Sex” as found in the Human Rights Law to include “Gender Identity.”. Such protections now extend to housing discrimination as set forth in NY Executive Law §296.

The regulation also includes a provision whereby “Gender Dysphoria” (which is defined as a recognized medical condition related to an individual having a gender identity different from the sex assigned at birth) is also considered a disability under NY Human Rights Law §292.21.  Such protections afford individuals with Gender Dysphoria the right to reasonable accommodations in things such as employment.  The regulation states that “refusal to provide reasonable accommodation for persons with gender dysphoria or other condition meeting the definition of disability in the Human Rights Law set out above, where requested and necessary, and in accordance with the Divisions regulations on reasonable accommodation found at 9 NYCRR § 466.11, is disability discrimination.”

The amendment also gave the DOS the right to discipline a licensee that was found to have participated in a discriminatory practice.  According to the regulation, “No real estate broker or salesperson shall engage in an unlawful discriminatory practice, as proscribed by any federal, state or local law applicable to the activities of real estate licensees in New York State. A finding by any federal, state or local agency or court of competent jurisdiction that a real estate broker or salesperson has engaged in unlawful discriminatory practice in the performance of licensed real estate activities shall be presumptive evidence of untrustworthiness and will subject such licensee to discipline, including a proceeding for revocation. Nothing herein shall limit or restrict the Department from otherwise exercising its authority pursuant to section 441-c of the Real Property Law.”

Since 2014, REALTORS have recognized Gender Identity as a protected class.  New York State’s REALTORS vigorously support the ideal that no one should be discriminated against based on race, color, national origin, disability or familial status as well as the additional protected classes under New York State Law including sexual orientation, military status, age or being a victim of domestic violence.

As advocates for fair housing, REALTORS believe in building strong, diverse communities where all are welcome.

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