Employment Law Update
Gender Identity Is Added To Maryland’s Discrimination Law
Maryland joined seventeen other states and the District of Columbia in adding gender identity to the state's discrimination law. In addition to employment, the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014, prohibits discrimination based on gender identity in public accommodations and housing. Similar laws have been adopted in Howard, Baltimore and Montgomery Counties, and in Baltimore City.
The law defines “gender identity” as the gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behaviour of a person regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth, which may be demonstrated by (1) consistent and uniform assertion of the person’s gender identity or (2) any other evidence that the gender is sincerely held as part of the person’s core identity.
The law does not prohibit an employer from establishing and requiring employees to adhere to certain reasonable workplace appearance, grooming, and dress standards, as long as employees are allowed to appear, groom and dress consistently with their gender identity.
Religious entities are exempted from the employment discrimination provisions of the law with respect to the employment of individuals who perform work connected with the activities of the religious entity.
The law becomes effective on October 1, 2014.