Are You Prepared To Comply With New York’s Gender Recognition Act?

October 15, 2021 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

This December, a new law takes effect which expedites the process for individuals to change their name and gender identification on public documents such as driver’s licenses and birth certificates and increases the privacy of individuals submitting these petitions. A recent phone call into our Compliance department reminded me that this change in law will have important implications for your credit union’s operations.

Under existing law, a petition for a name change must be published. The purpose of the Gender Recognition Act (GRA) is to protect the privacy of members of the LGBTQ+ community and protect them from discrimination by providing a mechanism to more quickly change their name and gender identity. Crucially, for our purposes, documentation of a name change may be used to request a “public or private” entity update its records to reflect the new name. This term clearly includes banks and credit unions. The refusal of an entity to honor such a request may result in legal actions for violating several provisions of New York law.

In order to prepare for this law, credit unions should examine their existing protocols to determine what documentation may be subject to a name change request. You may also wish to consider putting your front line staff on notice to expect an increase in such requests as the law’s effective date nears. More generally, the underlying purpose of the law is to ensure people can efficiently change their name and gender identity in a way which maintains their privacy. So the need for employee discretion should be emphasized.  The law takes effect on December 21st but businesses may already be fielding requests for changes.

Entry filed under: Compliance, New York State. Tags: , , .

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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., Senior Vice President, General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association. In addition, although Henry strives to give his readers useful and accurate information on a broad range of subjects, many of which involve legal disputes, his views are not a substitute for legal advise from retained counsel.

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