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

  • June 1, 2011

A new Nevada law prohibits employers in the state from discriminating against their employees based on “gender identity or expression.”  While state law already prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual’s color, race, sex, religion, age, disability, national origin, and sexual orientation, the new law expands protection to gender identity or expression. “Gender identity or expression” is defined as “gender-related identity, appearance, expression or behavior of a person, regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth.”

The law (A.B. 211), signed by Governor Brian Sandoval on May 24, becomes effective October 1, 2011, and applies to state and municipal employers, as well as private sector employers with at least 15 employees.  Employers may require reasonable workplace appearance, grooming, and dress standards that are consistent with the employee’s preferred gender.

This is a substantial expansion of the law in Nevada and brings the state into line with more than a dozen other states that expressly protect gender identity and expression.  Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, while prohibiting gender stereotyping in employment, does not provide the breadth of protection the new Nevada law will provide.

Employers in Nevada should revise their employee handbooks and non-discrimination and non-harassment policies to ensure that gender identity and expression are listed 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.

This is brief summary of the new law.  Jackson Lewis attorneys are available answer questions and to assist employers in their efforts to comply with the new law.

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