Gender/Gender Identity Rights
Gender/Gender Identity at Work
The information provided below is for informational purposes only.
On December 28, 2005, LD 1196, “An Act to Extend Civil Rights Protections to All People Regardless of Sexual Orientation,” went into effect. This anti-discrimination law extended to LGBT individuals protecting all person(s) from discrimination in employment.
It’s illegal for your employer, public businesses, places of housing, or other “public accommodations” to treat you differently because of your sex, sexual orientation, or gender.
You are protected both at work and outside of work.
Federal civil rights laws and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission also protect you from discrimination based on sex, gender identity including transgender status, or sexual orientation.
Lewiston union(s) that have transgender nondiscrimination clauses in some of their contracts:
- American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
If you, a city employee, municipal elected official, committee member, or city-appointed volunteer/intern believe there has been a suspected ethics violation including but not limited to: sexual harassment, unlawful harassment, discrimination, safety, etc., by a city employee, municipal elected official, committee member, or city-appointed volunteer/intern, you may file an ONLINE Complaint Form; print, complete and mail in a Complaint Form (Hard Copy); or send by email LewReporting@lewistonmaine.gov.
If you, a city resident, believe there has been a suspected ethics violation ethics violation including but not limited to; sexual harassment, unlawful harassment, discrimination, safety, etc by a city employee, municipal elected official, committee member, or city-appointed volunteer/intern, you may file an ONLINE Complaint Form or print, complete and mail in a Complaint Form (Hard Copy); or send by email LewReporting@lewistonmaine.gov.
For all other complaints NOT involving a City employee, municipal elected official, committee member, or City volunteer/intern, please contact:
GLBTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD)
Maine Human Rights Commission
Frequently Asked Questions
Thoughtful consideration of gender issues is rooted in providing safe, inclusive work environments and public spaces where all people are treated equally and fairly, irrespective of where they may be on the gender, sexual orientation and sexuality spectra.
I am cisgender and heterosexual. Do the laws that protect LGBTQIA2S folks from discrimination protect me too?
Yes. Cisgender is a term used to describe a person whose gender identity corresponds with the sex they were assigned at birth. If you worked at a place where everyone else was gay and trans and they discriminated against you or harassed you based on your gender identity or sexual orientation, that would be unlawful.
We are all members of many protected classifications and the laws do not just protect those who are members of a subcategory that has historically been subjected to discrimination.
It is challenging for me to know which pronouns to use. How do I know? I know a trans person who prefers plural pronouns, but that seems grammatically incorrect to me.
It may be a challenge and take some time to get into the habit of using a new set of pronouns correctly. But it is important to try and get it right. Using pronouns incorrectly or refusing to use a trans person’s new name on purpose may even be evidence of discrimination or harassment.
In fact, people are now often putting their pronouns (he, him and his or she, her and hers, or they, them and their) into their email signature blocks, whether they are transgender or cisgender.
As to the grammar issue, language is an evolving thing. The increasing use of pronouns like “they” and “them”’ to refer to a singular person is a case in point. It is also courteous and a sign that you are being inclusive and respectful of their identity. Using their desired name and pronouns and being respectful and inclusive are great steps toward promoting healthy and supportive work environments and staying in compliance with the law.
Rumor has it one of our employees is set to transition. That’s obviously a very personal decision; what’s my role as an employer?
Employees have a right to openly discuss their gender identity and expression or to keep these things private.
Secure approval by the transitioning employee before making any disclosures or announcements to other employees. If announcements are made, it may be wise to point out the requirement to continue treating the transitioning employee with dignity and respect.
Reference to an anti-harassment or respectful workplace policy will put employees on notice that the transgender employee is entitled to protection.
Disclaimer: This is not intended as legal advice. Any responses to specific questions are based on the facts from LBGTQ Legal Advocates and Defenders (GLAD). If you need legal advice, please consult an attorney.