Amid a recent surge in LGBTQ+ legislation across the country, the North Dakota Legislative Assembly passed Bill No. 1522 earlier this summer to outline protocols for preferred pronouns and restrooms in schools. Governor Doug Burgum signed the bill into law in May, making North Dakota one of nine states to define “sex” in ways that impact people’s access to bathrooms or facilities. This article will explore what the law entails and how it may apply to you.
Bill No. 1522 prevents a government entity from adopting or prohibiting a policy that requires an employee to use an individual’s preferred pronoun when addressing or mentioning the individual in work-related communications. The bill goes on to state that school districts, public schools, and public school teachers may not adopt a policy that requires or prohibits an individual from using a student’s preferred gender pronouns.
For the use of restrooms, school districts, public schools, and public school teachers must prohibit a student from using a restroom that does not coincide with the student’s biological sex. Moreover, school districts, public schools, and public school teachers cannot adopt a policy concerning a particular student’s transgender status without approval from the student’s parent or legal guardian; and the parties are required to disclose any information about a student’s transgender status with the student’s parent or legal guardian.
A violation of the law subjects the parent or legal guardian of a student who attends the school at which the violation occurred and suffered damages as a result to a civil cause of action against the board of the school district. A plaintiff that prevails in an action can be awarded with remedies for damages, costs and fees (including reasonable attorney fees), and exemplary damages up to $500,000.
Bill No. 1522 was declared to be an emergency measure, meaning the bill took effect immediately after Secretary of State Michael Howe filed it on May 9, 2023.
If you have any questions regarding the new legislation or need to contact a litigator for proper legal advice, our team at SW&L Attorneys would be happy to help guide you through the process. Call 701-297-2890 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get in touch with our team.