Anti-Transgender Discrimination Declared Unlawful
In late April, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) declared that discrimination against transgender people violates the existing federal ban on discrimination in employment. PFLAG board member Pat Tetrault, associate director-LGBTQ Programs and Services at UNL, shared the following press release from the Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals on the EEOC decision. It’s a great summary of the issue.
The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals commends the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in what has been hailed as a "landmark" move. The EEOC ruled that employers who discriminate against an employee, or potential employee, based on their gender identity is in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination based on sex.
M. Dru Levasseur, Transgender Rights Attorney for Lambda Legal says, “This is the first time the EEOC has held that transgender people are protected from discrimination by federal law. This ruling, by the agency in charge of enforcing and interpreting federal discrimination laws, confirms the growing trend of court decisions holding that sex discrimination laws protect transgender people from discrimination. The decision applies to both private and public employees everywhere in the United States. It will be binding on EEOC offices and investigators across the country, and will be binding on all federal agencies. The decision will also be entitled to significant deference by the courts.”
The National Center for Transgender Equality found in its survey, “Injustice at Every Turn,” that transgender people face:
- Double the rate of unemployment—Survey respondents experienced unemployment at twice the rate of the general population at the time of the survey, with rates for people of color up to four times the national unemployment rate.
- Widespread mistreatment at work—Ninety percent of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment, mistreatment or discrimination on the job or took actions like hiding who they are to avoid it.
- Forty-seven percent said they had experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being ﬁred, not hired or denied a promotion because of being transgender or gender non-conforming.
- Over one-quarter (26%) reported that they had lost a job due to being transgender or gender non-conforming and 50% were harassed.
- Large majorities attempted to avoid discrimination by hiding their gender or gender transition (71%) or delaying their gender transition (57%).
- The vast majority (78%) of those who transitioned from one gender to the other reported that they felt more comfortable at work and their job performance improved, despite high levels of mistreatment.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy and gender identity), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, you can file a Charge of Discrimination on the EEOC website: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm