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Massachusetts moves a step closer to Maine in protecting people from employment discrimination

On February 17, 2011, Massachusetts’ governor signed an executive order which bans discrimination against state employees and employees of state contractors because of their gender identity. This new law would protect some of Massachusetts’ transgender employees from discrimination. However, it does not protect all transgender employees–it only protects those working for the state or a state contractor. The law also does not allow any employees to bring a lawsuit against their employer if the employer discriminates against them because of their gender identity.

The Maine Human Rights Act, which protects all employees in Maine, prohibits discrimination on the basis of “sexual orientation,” which includes a person’s “gender identity.” Thus, Maine offers broader protection than Massachusetts for transgender employees. If you work in Maine and your employer discriminates against you because you are a transgender individual, your employer has violated the Maine Human Rights Act. If that happens to you, you should contact an experienced employment lawyer to discuss your legal rights.