Massachusetts Transgender Public Accommodations Bill Becomes Law

Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed the Transgender Public Accommodations Bill into law.  While Massachusetts has statutorily prohibited employment discrimination against transgender persons since July 1, 2012, the law extends those protections to include all places of public accommodation, such as restaurants, hotels, retail stores, and gyms.

The law specifically amends Massachusetts’ public accommodation statute and provides that all places of public accommodations “shall grant all persons” access to gender-restricted facilities or areas (such as bathrooms and locker rooms) in a manner “consistent with the person’s gender identity.”

The law takes effect on October 1, 2016, and will be enforced by the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.  By September 1, 2016, the MCAD is expected to issue rules and regulations to accomplish the goals of the law.

The MCAD’s rules may have implications for employers and the enforcement of M.G.L. c. 151B, and we will update the blog when the rules are announced.  In the meantime, employers that are considered places of public accommodation should inform employees who have customer contact of the protections extended by the law.

About Amanda Marie Baer

Amanda Marie Baer is a Partner in the firm's Labor, Employment and Employee Benefits Group.  Amanda focuses her practice on representing employers in federal and state courts and before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination and the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities. Amanda defends employers against claims concerning discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, interference, and accommodations.  Amanda also has experience in conducting workplace investigations into allegations of discrimination or harassment, and litigating to enforce (or defend claims regarding) employment, noncompetition/nonsolicitation, and severance agreements. Amanda's litigation experience makes her a valuable resource for employers seeking counsel on a myriad of day-to-day human resources issues and/or employment actions.
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