Utah Bill on Gender (Non)Conformity in Dress as Employment Discrimination

Utah’s SB 0262 (2013) would amend the Utah Antidiscrimination Act and the Utah Fair Housing Act to include prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

tapestry women and menThe bill specifically allows the maintenance of gender specific dress and grooming codes by employers, but would allow some flexibility for individuals to choose their gender appearance:

7)     (a) This chapter may not be interpreted to prohibit an employer from requiring an employee, during the employee’s hours at work, to adhere to reasonable dress or grooming standards not prohibited by other provisions of federal, state, or local law, if the employer permits any employee who has undergone gender transition before the time of application for employment, and any employee who notifies the employer that the employee has undergone or is undergoing gender transition after the time of application for employment, to adhere to the same dress or grooming standards for the gender to which the employee has transitioned or is transitioning.

          (b) For the purposes of this Subsection (7), if an employer has reason to believe that an applicant’s or employee’s gender identity is not sincerely held, the employer may require the applicant or employee to provide evidence of that gender identity. A person may prove the person’s gender identity by providing evidence, including medical history, care or treatment of the gender identity, consistent and uniform assertion of the gender identity, or any other evidence that the gender identity is sincerely held or not being asserted for an improper purpose.

The bill’s passage would certainly be progress, but even more progress would be a prohibition of gender-based dress and grooming codes as within the definition of discrimination.

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