by Kevin C. McCormick
Maryland’s new law prohibiting discrimination against transgender individuals in areas of employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations goes into effect October 1.
The Fairness for All Marylanders Act passed the legislature in March and was signed by Governor Martin O’Malley in May. It adds “gender identity” to Maryland’s existing laws that prohibit discrimination based on race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and other characteristics. The law is designed to protect any person who has or is perceived by others to have a gender identity or expression that might be considered different or inconsistent with his assigned sex at birth, regardless of whether he self-identifies as transgender.
Employers with fewer than 15 employees wouldn’t be covered by the law. Religious institutions, schools, and associations, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and owner-occupied dwellings or apartments with fewer than five units also would be exempt.
The law amends Section 20 of the State Government Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland to include gender identity as a specific protected status. An employer that violates the statute would be subject to the same penalties currently included in Section 20.
For more information on the Fairness for All Marylanders Act, see the May issue of Maryland Employment Law Letter.