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Connecticut's Ban on Gender Identity Discrimination to Take Effect October 1

  • July 8, 2011

An amendment to Connecticut law prohibits employers in the state from discriminating against their employees based on “gender identity or expression.” The new law expands the protections of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act, which already prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religious creed, age, marital status, national origin, ancestry, sex, mental retardation, and disability. 

In the new law, “gender identity or expression” is defined as “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.”  Gender-related identity “can be shown by providing evidence including, but not limited to, medical history, care or treatment of the gender-related identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender-related identity or any other evidence that the gender-related identity is sincerely held, part of a person’s core identity or not being asserted for an improper purpose.”

The law (HB 6599), signed by Governor Dan Malloy on July 1, 2011, becomes effective October 1, 2011, and applies to any public or private employer with at least three employees.  Employment agencies and labor organizations also are covered.  The state’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities has authority to enforce the law.

This measure aligns the state with more than a dozen others that expressly protect gender identity and expression.  Nevada’s new law also will become effective October 1, 2011.  Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, while prohibiting gender stereotyping in employment, does not provide the breadth of protection the new Connecticut law will provide.

Employers in Connecticut should revise their employee handbooks and non-discrimination and non-harassment policies to ensure that gender identity and expression are added as a protected class.  Employers are urged to make certain that their Human Resource professionals are aware of this change in the law so that they may help disseminate information and provide appropriate training.

Jackson Lewis attorneys are available to provide details, to answer questions, to provide training and to assist employers in their efforts to comply with the new law.

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