Many transgender people living in California have concerns regarding how they will be treated in the workplace. In some cases, people have experienced workplace discrimination or harassment during gender transition. In other cases, individuals have experienced discrimination in hiring or may face issues after coming out as transgender in their current place of employment.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken the position that transgender people are protected under federal antidiscrimination laws. Specifically, the EEOC opposes discrimination against someone because they are transgender and supports the right of an employee to be referred to in the workplace by their preferred name and gender pronouns. Another federal agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, supports an employee’s right to use a restroom or locker room that corresponds to the gender that the employee identifies with. OSHA has also issued publications to employers that address such issues.
While federal appeals courts are still sorting out whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 applies to transgender individuals, some legal professionals advise employers to review their policies so as to avoid the appearance of discrimination against transgender people and individuals who are in transition. Similarly, transgender individuals should be aware of their workplace rights. Those who believe that they have been unfairly discriminated against may wish to consider whether they want to pursue the issue legally.
In some cases, an individual may benefit from consulting with an experienced employment attorney. The attorney may be able to offer assistance by reviewing the client’s case and considering current case law and EEOC directives. In addition, the attorney may be able to make recommendations regarding the possibility of workplace discrimination and possible legal remedies for the client.