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Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination Issues Guidance Relative To Gender Identity Discrimination

By September 20, 2016No Comments


On September 1, 2016, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (“MCAD”) issued important Gender Identity Guidance  on complying with Massachusetts’ laws forbidding discrimination based on gender identity.

Gender identity has been defined in Massachusetts as meaning “a person’s gender-related identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that gender-related identity, appearance or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with the person’s physiology or assigned sex at birth.”  M.G.L. c.4, sec. 7, fifty nine.  The term encompasses, but is not limited to, persons who are transgender.

In support of the guidelines, the MCAD cited the  case in which Bennet & Belfort, P.C., Attorney Andrew S. McIlvaine, on behalf of his client, Alyx Tinker, obtained a favorable decision in a 2016 transgender discrimination case.  MCAD Docket No. 13-BEM-01906, Decision Of The Hearing Officer (August 9, 2016).  The case is cited by the MCAD in support of the rule that a supervisor’s ridicule of a transgendered subordinate and refusal to respect an employee’s request for gender appropriate pronouns can amount to unlawful employment discrimination.  M.C.A.D. Gender Identity Guidance, pg. 2 (Sept. 1, 2016).

The Guidance also offers instructions on complying with Massachusetts laws forbidding gender identity discrimination in housing, credit, and public accommodation settings.

Should you have any questions on this or any other employment or civil rights matters, please feel free to contact Bennett & Belfort P.C.