Discrimination under the Maine Human Rights Act
Have you been told by a potential landlord that you were denied for housing because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression or that it was because they did not approve of the sex of your partner or of your “lifestyle”? Has an employer made an adverse job decision that has negatively affected you because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression? If so, then you might consider speaking to a lawyer about your rights and the Maine Human Rights Commission. The Maine Human Rights Commission is a state agency that is in charge of investigating and enforcing Maine’s anti-discrimination laws, as set out in the Maine Human Right Act. The Maine Human Rights Act covers areas ranging from employment, housing, and public accommodations to fair credit extension and educational opportunities. The Act outlines the definition of sexual orientation in the act as being actual or perceived “heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality or gender identity or expression.”
Even though many of us may believe and wish to believe that discrimination against our fellow community members is lessening over the years, it is always good to know that there is a state agency that is vested with the power to hear complaints related specifically to discrimination based on our actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or expression. To learn more about the Maine Human Rights Commission and their procedures– visit their homepage – they even have an online form to submit complaints.
There are other actions you can take in addition to going through the Maine Human Rights Commission. You may have a case under federal law or in state court. If you believe that a discriminatory act has happened to you, you should seek the advice of counsel immediately.