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Maryland lawmakers to consider banning transgender discrimination

Federal and state laws ban various types of employment discrimination in Maryland. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. The Americans with Disabilities Act bars discrimination on the basis of a real or perceived disability. And, Maryland has a state law that bans sexual orientation discrimination. Maryland residents might be surprised, however, to learn that certain types of discrimination may be legally acceptable in the modern workplace.

There is no state law here in Maryland to protect people from being discriminated against for being transgender or for their expression of gender. This week, a bill was filed in the state senate to protect transgender individuals from discrimination in the workplace and in hiring.

The bill was expected to receive some support from lawmakers, but it remains to be seen whether it will pass into law.

Certain counties and cities do already have local bans against transgender discrimination. They include Howard County, Montgomery County, Baltimore and Baltimore City.

As it stands, it is important for employers and residents of Maryland to be aware that transgender people may be protected from discrimination under the umbrella of other employment laws. For instance, in some cases transgender discrimination may also be a form of illegal sexual harassment or sex discrimination.

Employment rights are complicated and they are evolving. Those who are experiencing harassment or discrimination in the workplace should talk to an employment law attorney about their rights.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Transgender rights bill introduced in Annapolis," Kevin Rector, Jan. 14, 2014

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