Greeting customers as “Mr.” or “Mrs.” — or even not using the pronoun “ze” or “zir” — could prove costly for New York City businesses under rules drafted by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s bureaucrats.
The Gotham mayor’s Commission on Human Rights says entities that fail to address customers by their preferred gender pronouns and titles are in violation of the law and could be subject to penalties of up to $250,000.
The commission issued a “legal enforcement guidance” for the New York City Human Rights Law, which now “requires employers and converted entities to use an individual’s preferred name, pronoun and title (e.g., Ms./Mrs.) regardless of the individual’s sex assigned at birth, anatomy, gender, medical history, appearance, or the sex indicated on the individual’s identification.”
The guidance, issued in December as part of a broader interpretation of the human rights law, notes that some people prefer pronouns that don’t have masculine or feminine forms, including “they/them/theirs or ze/hir.” The former are plurals being drafted for use in the singular, while the latter are among several alternative pronoun systems developed by academics and/or LGBT communities.