Massachusetts has enacted a new law which will go into effect on July 1, 2012.  The Transgender Equal Rights Act prohibits discrimination based upon gender identity and expression in employment, education, housing, credit, and lending and makes violence against transgender individuals a hate crime.

The new law defines the terms “gender identity and expression” as “gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of an individual, regardless of the individual’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.” 

Massachusetts employers should take several steps to ensure compliance with this new law:
•  Update employee handbooks and non-discrimination policies to include gender identity and expression
•  Review hiring, promotion and termination practices and procedures to ensure compliance
•  Provide education and training to managers and staff concerning the treatment of transgender individuals in the workplace and sensitivity to transgender issues.

Submitted by:  Cheri L. Crow, Esq., Cummings Franchise Law, www.cummingsfranchiselaw.com

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