Adult care home that denied transgender woman will adopt nondiscrimination policy in landmark settlement
An assisted living facility in Jonesport will implement new training and nondiscrimination policies after it was found by a state commission to have discriminated against a transgender woman last year.
79-year-old Marie King filed a Maine Human Rights Commission complaint against Sunrise Assisted Living in October, in which she said that she was denied admission because she is transgender, and that she wanted to stay in a room with another woman. In March, the commission found reasonable grounds that the center discriminated against King.
According to a settlement approved on Monday, Adult Family Care Homes of Maine, which operates Sunrise, will institute a new policy requiring it provide equal access for transgender people, and it will provide services in accordance with their gender identity.
Chris Erchull, an attorney with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, said the case is the first of its kind, and he sees the new policy as a framework for other institutions to follow.
"And for people who operate assisted living facilities to know what their obligations are," Erchull said. "And to have a policy they can look to, to ensure that they're complying with the requirements of the law."
Adult Family Care Homes of Maine will also be required to institute mandatory training for staff at all of its locations, and the organization will also include a nondiscrimination statement on its website. Erchull said that King is happy with the resolution of the case.
"Her interest was solely in helping to make positive change. And she's thrilled that she was able to do that," Erchull said.
Adult Family Care Homes of Maine declined to comment further on the settlement. But in a joint statement, both parties said that the assisted living operator "affirms its intention to provide a welcoming environment for everyone in the LGBTQ community and in particular commits to treating transgender individuals in accordance with their gender identity in admissions, placement, and programming."