On Wednesday, the Massachusetts passed and sent to Governor Deval Patrick, a bill--H.3810, which outlaws employment discrimination on the basis of “gender identity.”  It is expected that Governor Patrick will sign the bill which will take effect on July 1, 2012.  

The proposed legislation would insert the phrase “gender identity’’ to chapters of state law governing discrimination in employment, housing, insurance, mortgage loans, and credit. However, it does not include special considerations to transgendered individuals in public accommodations, such as bathrooms and locker rooms.

The bill defines gender identity as “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” The legislation also provides some non-exhaustive examples of how a person can establish they are transgendered.

If this bill is signed into law, as anticipated, Massachusetts employers must ensure their decision makers are aware that taking adverse action against a transgendered person is unlawful.  Internal anti-discrimination trainings, manuals and employee handbooks should also be revised, where necessary, to reflect this change.

We will keep you posted. 

Have a great weekend.