When did this go into effect?

The executive order is effective as of the date of signing, which was June 30, 2016.  It also states that the Personnel Division shall provide guidance to agencies regarding how to implement the order. That guidance must be issued by September 15, 2016.

What does the executive order do? 

Executive order 2016-04 explicitly includes gender identity and gender expression as protected categories under the State’s anti-discrimination policies.  This includes the State’s antidiscrimination policies and provisions for employment in state government and in the activities and services of state programs. It also requires that all state contracts include nondiscrimination protections on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.

Who is covered under the executive order?

State employees, employees of state-administered programs, employees of state-funded contractors or grant recipients are all covered under the order, as well as people receiving services through state programs.

If I am covered by the executive order, and feel that I have been discriminated against since the executive order went into effect, what are my options?

A state employee who experiences discrimination should report it to their human resources administrator, or to the Director of the Division of Personnel, which is part of the Department of Administrative Services. They can also report the conduct to a supervisor, or if a supervisor is involved, they can submit it to the next supervisor in the chain, who must report it to the Director of Personnel. A report of discrimination triggers an investigation into the incident. The enforcement policy is set forth here: https://das.nh.gov/hr/sxharas.html.

Individuals may also file complaints of discrimination with the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights.

Is there still a need for an anti-discrimination law that gives clear protections on the basis of gender identity and gender expression?

Yes. The executive order is limited to state policies. It does not cover discrimination by private employers, in housing, credit and lending, or places of public accommodation. We need clear and explicit protections that cover gender identity and gender expression to ensure that transgender people are fully protected under New Hampshire’s nondiscrimination law.

In addition, an important purpose of law is to signal the fact of the law’s protection both to the community covered by the law and the entities subject to it. The executive order is an important next step toward changing state policy. But the transgender community needs and deserves full, comprehensive, express protections in the law. That requires the legislature to take the next step to add gender identity and gender expression to the state’s non-discrimination law.

What can I do if I am experiencing discrimination from a private employer, in housing, or in places of public accommodation?

If you are experiencing discrimination in New Hampshire on the basis of gender identity or gender expression, you can file a complaint with the New Hampshire Commission on Human Rights (NHCHR) either stating a claim of sex discrimination or checking off the box that so indicates. For more information about filing a complaint and your rights in New Hampshire, contact GLADAnswers. 

For questions about LGBTQ legal rights in New England, contact us at GLADAnswers.org