Gender Identity Discrimination In The Workplace
Gender identity discrimination lawsuits are a relatively recent development in civil rights law, though this kind of discrimination is far from new. As a result, the laws concerning gender identity discrimination vary from state to state, and sometimes even city to city. However, the simple fact is that all employees have the same rights to equal treatment. This means that if you are harassed, fired or otherwise discriminated against at work for any reason, including your gender identity, you have legal options to right this wrong.
Allen discrimination lawyer Dan A. Atkerson has been protecting the rights of workers in Texas for over 38 years. He has helped hundreds of North Texas employees fight back against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Depending on your situation, you may be able to make a claim against your employer or file a discrimination lawsuit in state or federal court. Or, at the very least, you can make your workplace tolerant and accommodating. We can help. Call us at (214) 383-3606 or request your consultation online.
Defining Gender Identity Discrimination in the Workplace
First, let’s define gender identity. Gender identity refers to the gender you recognize as part of your own self-concept, regardless of your biological sex. It is often, but not always, the gender you present through clothing choices and other typically gender-related characteristics. Gender identity is often confused with sexual orientation. However, while an employment discrimination case may involve both of these issues, they are not interchangeable.
Next, let’s look at how people may discriminate against your gender identity at work. Gender identity discrimination is any different or negative treatment in the workplace based on a person’s expression of gender. Often, this kind of discrimination is directed at transgender employees, whose gender identity is different than their physical sex. For example, an employer may ban (formally or informally, such as with a joke) a transgender employee from using the restroom that conforms with his or her gender identity. Other examples of gender identity discrimination include:
- Disciplinary action or wrongful termination if an employee wears clothing or a gender-specific uniform associated with his or her gender identity.
- Harassment or wrongful termination when an employee plans or starts the process of gender reassignment.
- Verbal or physical harassment of a transgender employee for not conforming to his or her perceived gender. For example, other workers or supervisors may purposefully refuse to use the correct pronoun or name that aligns with an employee’s gender identity.
- Denying a transgender employee a promotion based on gender identity.
Gender identity employment discrimination can also have to do with socially-accepted gender norms. Though these kind of stereotypes are changing in some areas and businesses, in others they are still a serious problem. For example, a soft-spoken male employee may experience harassment for not acting “masculine enough”. Or other workers may ridicule a female employee for not wearing makeup or other stereotypically feminine accessories. Even if your gender identity is the same as your physical sex, you can still experience this kind of discrimination.
"Much like sexual orientation discrimination, there are no state laws that specifically prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in Texas. However, several Texas cities have local ordinances concerning gender identity discrimination."
Is Gender Identity Discrimination Illegal in Texas?
Much like sexual orientation discrimination, there are no state laws that specifically prohibit discrimination based on gender identity in Texas. However, several Texas cities have local ordinances concerning gender identity discrimination. Dallas, for example, amended its anti-discrimination ordinance in 2015 to specifically ban housing and employment discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity.
However, even if you live in an area with no local laws against employment discrimination for gender identity, you are protected by federal laws. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) now includes gender identity discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Among other things, this Act outlaws sex discrimination in the workplace. In 2014, the EEOC ruled that these protections also extend to issues of gender identity.
An Employment Lawyer Can Review Your Case
Gender identity discrimination can be subtle and the legal aspects are often confusing. If you believe you have experienced workplace discrimination because of your gender identity, our Collin County discrimination lawyer can help. Dan A. Atkerson has been handling employment discrimination cases in North Texas for over 38 years. He knows how difficult dealing with any kind of discrimination can be and so he handles every employment case personally.
If you have experienced gender identity discrimination in the workplace in Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen or any of the surrounding Dallas areas, our employment law firm can help. Contact us online or call our office at (214) 383-3606 to schedule a consultation.