In the middle of LGBT week, the National LGBTQ Tasks Force in Washington DC released some helpful information about combating workplace discrimination; specifically, transgender discrimination.
The Trans/Gender Nonconforming Project Director Victoria Rodriguez-Roldan says that transgender employees and applicants face immense discrimination every day in this country. In fact, according to a recent report published by the DC Office of Human Rights, 48 percent of employers say they prefer to hire cisgender (people whose gender identity reflects their birth gender) applicants who are less qualified than more qualified applicants who are, or are perceived to be, transgender.
The National LGBTQ Task Force conducted a survey in 2011 which found that as many as 90 percent of transgender people in the US have personally experienced workplace discrimination and sexual harassment.
Recent reports suggest that 15 percent of the transgender population earns $10,000 or less every year. Rodriguez-Roldan says that being denied access to a respectable job and decent wages is what pushes many transgender people to criminal jobs such as drugs and prostitution.
Are Transgender Employees and Applicants Legally Protected by Employment Laws?During the case of Macy v. Dept. of Justice in 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission argued that discrimination based on a person’s gender identity is a direct violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and should be treated as textbook sex discrimination.
Between then and now, the EEOC has also held that an employer who fails to use the employee’s new name or correct pronouns, does not make appropriate changes to their records, or restricts a transgender woman from using the women’s bathrooms are also in violation of the Civil Rights Act.
Transgender employees deserve, just like everyone else, the opportunity to earn a fair living. Every person should be judged solely on their ability to perform a job, and every employer should be required to follow the law.
For more than 20 years, Dallas employment law attorney Dan A. Atkerson has been fighting for employees victimized by workplace discrimination and harassment.