Alerts and Updates

Delaware Enacts Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act to Extend Employment Discrimination Protections Based on Gender Identity

June 24, 2013

Companies that do business or employ people in Delaware may want to consult with legal counsel to review and update their employee handbooks, employment policies and training materials to ensure proper compliance with Delaware law.

On June 19, 2013, Delaware Governor Jack A. Markell signed into law the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Act (the "Act"), which adds gender identity as a class protected from discrimination in employment, housing, public-works contracting, public accommodations and insurance under Delaware law.

The Act specifies that gender identity may be demonstrated by consistent and uniform assertion of the individual's gender identity or any other evidence that the individual's gender identity is sincerely held as part of his or her core identity. Further, and in an effect to quell concerns raised by skeptics of the Act, the Act gives public facilities the option to provide "reasonable accommodations based on gender identity," such as private changing areas, in locker rooms or similar areas where people undress.

With the enactment of the Act, which went into effect immediately upon the Governor's signature, Delaware's anti-discrimination law (the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act) now provides protections on the basis of race, marital status, genetic information, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin and gender identity.

With the enactment of this law, 17 states and the District of Columbia provide employment protections to employees on the basis of their gender identity and/or gender expression. (In addition to Delaware and the District of Columbia, these states are: Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Mexico, California, Illinois, Maine, Hawaii, New Jersey, Washington, Iowa, Oregon, Vermont, Colorado, Connecticut, Nevada and Massachusetts.)

Companies that do business or employ people in Delaware may want to consult with legal counsel to review and update their employee handbooks, employment policies and training materials to ensure proper compliance with Delaware law.

For Further Information

If you have any questions regarding this Alert, this Delaware law or employment policies regarding gender identity and/or gender expression, please contact any of the attorneys in our Employment, Labor, Benefits and Immigration Practice Group or the attorney in the firm with whom you are regularly in contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.