ALBANY – New York State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris announced on March 9 the Senate passed his legislation (S.1187) outlawing gender discrimination in disability insurance policies. Currently, gender is a determinative factor in insurance premiums. Senator Gianaris’ legislation would prohibit insurers from using gender as a tool to determine risk. The Senate passage of this legislation follows the observance of International Women’s Day.
“The deck is already stacked against women and gender non-conforming people in the job market and I am proud the Senate passed my legislation to make things fairer,” said Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris. “Small businesses should not be penalized for hiring female and gender non-conforming employees and this proposal would level the playing field for people in the workplace.”
“New Yorkers have no tolerance for gender discrimination. I am thankful for Senator Gianaris' partnership on this important legislation, and I am hopeful for its passage in the Assembly in the coming months,” said Assembly Member Deborah J. Glick, who sponsors the legislation in the Assembly.
“Barriers to equality for women and gender non-conforming people in the workplace are built into law as well as accepted as norm in our culture. We need to end legally accepted discriminatory practices that encourage male favoritism. Ending higher disability rates for those identifying as women is one of the many seemingly small actions that will help lead to greater equality. Thank you Senator Gianaris and the New York State Senate for moving this bill forward,” said Sheila Lewandowski, Executive Director of the Chocolate Factory Theater.
Senator Gianaris’ legislation bans insurers from charging different rates based on the insured person’s gender. Doctor Disability, a leading brokerage of disability insurance for the medical field, has stated it can cost up to 50% more to insure a female employee than a male. Small businesses in Queens have said it costs up to three times more to provide this insurance to women than men. Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed similar legislation in January, 2019.