Maggie Hasan, the Governor of New Hampshire, recently issued an executive order that prohibits employment discrimination against transgender people based on their gender identity or gender expression. The New Hampshire Law Against Discrimination already prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation but not gender identity or expression. Governor Hasan’s executive order will protect employees that work for New Hampshire State government as well as employees who work for contractors that do business with the State of New Hampshire.
“Throughout our history, it has been clear time and again that we always grow stronger when we work to ensure the full inclusion of all citizens in our democracy, our economy and our communities,” Governor Hassan said. “By making clear that gender identity and gender expression are protected in the State’s anti-discrimination policies, this Executive Order helps ensure that New Hampshire state government welcomes and incorporates the talents and contributions of all of our citizens. As we celebrate Pride Month, this Executive Order reinforces that New Hampshire is a welcoming state where everyone has the opportunity to share in our high quality of life and economic success.”
Maine has prohibited discrimination against transgender people for years. The Maine Human Rights Commission has interpreted the prohibition against sexual orientation discrimination in the Maine Human Rights Act as including a prohibition against discrimination based on gender identity. While Governor Hasan’s executive order moves New Hampshire closer to Maine and other New England states that prohibit gender identity discrimination, the executive order does not protect many employees in New Hampshire. For those transgender employees not covered by the executive order, they may rely on federal law. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has interpreted the Civil Rights Act’s prohibition on sex discrimination to include a prohibition on gender identity discrimination.