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NH enacts prohibition on gender identity discrimination

This year New Hampshire amended its anti-discrimination laws to include “gender identity” as a protected class. In doing so, New Hampshire has made it unlawful to discriminate against an employee due to their gender identity. Under this new law, “gender identity”  is defined as “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.”  This new law will provide much needed protection for transgender Granite Staters.

While over half of the states in the nation have not included Gender Identity as a protected class, New Hampshire has taken a step toward equality for a group that is consistently harassed, mistreated and discriminated. Transgender individuals currently face an unemployment rate three times higher than that of the general population, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.

Twenty states, including Maine and New Hampshire, ban employment discrimination based on gender identity. Additionally, although federal statutes do not include gender identity protection, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has interpreted Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to provide protection against discrimination.

Discrimination can be blatant or subtle. Treating an employee differently and worse due to their gender identity violates the law. This can include: Failing to hire based on gender identity or expression; termination due to disclosure of gender identity or expression; harassing an employee because of a gender transition; denying a promotion due to gender identity or expression; providing a lower salary to a transgendered employee; using derogatory terms, comments or disparaging remarks; and/or refusing to investigate claims of harassment.

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