I'm Bullied at Work for Being Trans: What Should I Do? By Dan Atkerson on February 29, 2024

Employee being bullied by a co-worker for their gender presentation

The bullying and harassment of trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people has to stop. If you are experiencing this kind of bigotry at work, please know that you have legal options and my practice is here to help and support you. You do not have to feel helpless or alone.

My law firm has helped clients in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with lawsuits for different kinds of workplace discrimination, including discriminatory behavior over a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Let’s look at some common forms of workplace bullying and consider some actions you can take to protect your safety and hold transphobic co-workers and bigoted institutions accountable.


Common Forms of Workplace Bullying Against Trans Employees

Here are some of the most common types of bullying that transgender and non-binary people face at work.

Anti-Trans Slurs and Disparaging Remarks

The use of transphobic or homophobic slurs is never acceptable. Yet some people feel they can use this ugly, hurtful language with impunity as long as the slurs are directed against a trans or gender non-conforming person. If slurs are not used, bullies at work may spread rumors about a trans or non-binary co-worker or use other kinds of insulting and degrading language.

Intentionally Deadnaming or Misgendering an Employee

Deadnaming is the act of calling a trans or non-binary person by the name they used before they transitioned. Deadnaming may also be combined with intentionally using the wrong pronouns for a trans or non-binary person and frequently misgendering them.

Sexual Harassment

Trans and non-binary employees may experience different kinds of sexual harassment as part of the workplace bullying they endure. This includes being demeaned, mocked, or targeted with unwanted sexual advances.

Bullying and Harassment on Social Media

Mean-spirited attacks can also take place away from the office and after hours through social media. In these situations, co-workers may put hateful comments on a co-worker’s social media posts. Transphobic co-workers could post bigoted photos or messages on their social media accounts as a way to harass an employee who is part of the trans and non-binary community.

We Can Put Bullies in Their Place

Here are two important things to remember:

  • You deserve to feel safe and free from judgment at your workplace no matter who you are.
  • Bullies need to be confronted and held accountable for their actions.

We’re here to make sure both of these happen. If you have been bullied or harassed at work, please reach out to my law office in Allen, TX.



Supervisor judging a trans employee's gender expression

Three Formal Steps to Combat Bullying at Work

If you have been the victim of bullying at work because you are transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming, here are three things you can do to start seeking accountability from those who have harmed you.

1. Document All Evidence and Save It Somewhere Safe

Save any evidence of transphobic language, slurs, sexual harassment, and other kinds of mistreatment. Take screenshots of social media posts or messages. Note dates and times these things occurred if possible. Keep two copies of everything if you can to build a strong paper trail that will help your case.

2. File a Complaint with the EEOC

If your complaints fall on deaf ears with HR reps at work, be sure to register a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). You can also make a report to the Civil Rights Division of the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Both organizations can investigate your claim and put outside pressure on your company.

3. Speak With an Employment Lawyer About What Happened

In addition to making formal complaints to the EEOC and TWC, I encourage you to contact my law office to discuss what happened. In addition to reviewing your legal options, my team can provide additional advice on what you can do to protect yourself and any loved ones from further bullying.


Other Kinds of Discrimination Trans Employees Face

Mistreatment of trans and non-binary employees can take many forms beyond those we’ve already listed. Here are some other ways companies bully or punish employees who are gender non-conforming.

Refusal to Investigate Bullying Complaints

You might not just have to deal with hostile co-workers, a bad boss, and supervisors who disregard your experiences. Your company’s HR department may not be on your side, ignoring your formal complaints if you’ve gone through the proper channels to handle things professionally.

Refusal to Give a Promotion or Raise

Your supervisor or other higher-ups in the company may halt your career progression by refusing to give you a raise or promote you within your department. This may be apparent for trans and non-binary employees if they notice cisgender co-workers getting promoted or paid better.

Demoting or Firing Someone for Their Gender Identity

A person’s gender identity or gender expression could also lead to them being demoted within a company or let go. If you’ve been fired or laid off because you are transgender or gender non-conforming, this can be grounds for a wrongful termination lawsuit.

Shadowy executives in a board room

Remember: Workplace Bullying Is Not Always Overt

Some workplaces in the Dallas-Fort Worth area try to conceal their harassment and bullying in different ways. Knowing what to look for can help you stand up for yourself and know when to seek out legal help.

Be Aware of Veiled Harassment and Bullying

I recently posted about hidden or covert types of workplace harassment at companies. Please use that resource to identify the tricks some companies play to hide their true intentions behind how you’re treated.

Watch Out for Toxic Behaviors at Work

I also noted some red flags that signal you’re in a hostile workplace. Recognizing these warning signs of potential harassment can help you steel yourself for your workday and help you prepare to report this behavior to those who can make a positive difference in the way your company is run.

You Don't Have to Deal with Workplace Bullies Alone

Contact My Law Firm for Legal Counsel and Support

If you have been discriminated against at work for your gender presentation and live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, contact my law office in Allen, TX. We welcome and can assist all members of the trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming community.



Attorney Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson
Dan A. Atkerson has worked as a civil employment law attorney in DFW since 1984. He has extensive knowledge of state and federal labor statutes and is a member of both the State Bar of Texas and the Dallas Bar Association.

Read Dan Atkerson's Full Bio | All Posts by Dan Atkerson

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Dan Atkerson

Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

Dan A. Atkerson has been protecting the rights of North Texas employees for over nearly four decades. He is affiliated with several prestigious legal organizations, including: 

  • The State Bar of Texas
  • The Dallas Bar Association
  • The United States Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit
  • Texas Supreme Court and all Texas trial and appellate courts
  • Texas federal courts for the Northern and Eastern Districts of Texas

Through aggressive, knowledgeable representation, he has helped clients all over the state reach significant verdicts and settlements. To schedule a consultation at our law firm, request an appointment online or call us at (214) 383-3606.

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