Maryland Law Protects Gender Identity Beyond Scope of Current U.S. Law
In 2014, the Maryland legislature passed The Fairness for all Marylanders Act protecting people from discrimination based on “gender identity” in three primary areas: housing, public accommodations and employment. Sexual orientation is also protected expressly under state law.
Meanwhile, U.S. law prohibits gender and "sex" discrimination in Maryland and beyond, and may well apply to gender stereotyping as a form of gender discrimination; and may or may not apply to facts arising from sexual orientation, for now.
What is "gender identity" under Maryland law?
In employment, it is defined as "the gender-related identity, appearance, expression, or behavior of a person." See Md. Code, St. Gov. Art. §20–606 (2019).
In other words, it involves a self-perception, an "expression" whether articulate or through "behavior" of a "person" regardless of their natural gender ("regardless of the person’s assigned sex at birth"). See id.
For more on gender identity, you can read my longer article on the topic published in the Summer 2018 edition of the Maryland Trial Reporter by clicking here. The article also covers some recent federal court decisions as of 2018, including interpretations of gender stereotype discrimination and its current contours.
In conclusion, the legal impact of "gender identity" protection in Maryland is evolving. As this younger generation enters the workforce and housing market over the next decade, it may become more active on the legal front.
As a leading employment and family law attorney, I focus on representing employees in claims of illegal discrimination, retaliation, disability rights violations, wrongful termination, and owed wages. I also represent family members navigating the complexities of separation, custody, divorce, and alimony.
Gregg H. Mosson, Esq.
Mosson Law, LLC