Massachusetts' Gender Identity Law Goes Into Effect July 1, 2012

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Massachusetts employers take note: Massachusetts' Transgender Equal Rights Bill, signed into law by Governor Patrick on November 23, 2011, goes into effect on July 1, 2012. Massachusetts is the 16th U.S. state, along with Washington, D.C., to offer transgendered individuals protection from discrimination, although the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination has taken the position for years that transgendered individuals are protected under the definition of "sex" as a protected class.

The law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment, as well as housing, credit, and education. Massachusetts' existing state anti-discrimination law, Chapter 151B, is amended to include "gender identity" as a protected category. Chapter 151B applies to public employers and private employers with six or more employees.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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