The Malta Independent 2 December 2023, Saturday
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Employment discrimination against transgender people outlawed

Malta Independent Sunday, 17 August 2014, 14:00 Last update: about 10 years ago

A legal amendment to the Criminal Code, effective as of 12 August, now makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against transgender individuals, on grounds of sex. Previously, the law only made reference to sexual orientation, without specific reference to those who underwent gender reassignment.

The legislation now quotes that discriminatory treatment is illegal “in so far as the ground of sex is concerned, any less favourable treatment of a person who underwent or is undergoing gender reassignment, which, for the purpose of those regulations shall mean, where a person is considering or intends to undergo, or is undergoing, a process, or part of a process, for the purposes of reassigning the person’s sex by changing physiological or other attributes of sex”. This forms part of the equal treatment in employment regulations, part of the employment and industrial relations act.

Minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties Helena Dalli announced the amendment in the legislation last May, at the fifth European Council on transgender issues.

In May, the minister also announced that a gender identity bill will be put forward, allowing transgender individuals to acquire full rights, including the right to marry. As the law stands, transsexuals applying for marriage are treated according to their gender at birth.

The Civil Union Bill, which was passed last April, grants same-sex couples the opportunity to enter legally-recognised civil unions, an arrangement which is effectively equivalent to marriage in all but name.

International LBGT NGOs lauded Malta for being the first European state to include gender identity as a protected ground in its highest legal text – the Constitution.

Just this year, the government dropped the case against transgender person Josanne Cassar. In 2006, Ms Cassar and her partner applied to marry, however the marriage registrar refused, arguing that Ms Cassar was born a male, even though by the time she had legally changed her gender from male to female.

In 2011, the Constitutional Court ruled that Ms Cassar rights had been breached due to shortcomings in the law which does not cater for transgender people applying for marriage.

Ms Cassar also took her case to the European Court of Human Rights, which tried to reach an agreement with the Maltese government, but failed.

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