April 21, 2015
On March 12, 2015, Gov. Herbert signed SB 296 into law. Under the new law, employers may not discriminate against employees based on gender identity or sexual orientation. A person’s gender identity may be shown by providing evidence, including medical history, care or treatment of the gender identity, or consistent assertion of the gender identity. The discrimination prohibition relates to employment rights (hiring, promotion, discharge, termination, etc.) as well as compensation and “terms, privileges and conditions of employment,” which are generally interpreted broadly enough to include employee benefit offerings. There appears to be an exception for religious employers.Utah employers should review their practices and procedures, as well as benefit offerings, to ensure they are not discriminating based on gender identity and/or sexual orientation. In doing so, employers should work with outside counsel (since the law has broader impact than just employee benefits). The law is effective May 12, 2015.
SB 296 »