Employment Law Attorneys

Equal Opportunity: Transgender Employees Are Protected Against Discrimination1 min read

Equal employment opportunities offer protection against being discriminated due to race, color, religion or sex.

Gender Identity Discrimination

When employers fire employees because of their sex, it is illegal under state and federal laws.  Now, individuals who are in the process of transitioning their sex (transgender) are also protected against employer discrimination because of their sex.

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled (see full opinion) that employers who fire employees because the employee has announced they are transitioning to become a man or woman, violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The Court specifically held that employers cannot discriminate against an employee who is gender “non-conforming” without violating their rights.

Here is an excerpt from the judgement:

“Second, discrimination against transgender persons necessarily implicates Title VII’s proscriptions against sex stereotyping. As we recognized in Smith, a transgender person is someone who “fails to act and/or identify with his or her gender”—i.e., someone who is inherently “gender non-conforming.” 378 F.3d at 575; see also id. at 568 (explaining that transgender status is characterized by the American Psychiatric Association as “a disjunction between an individual’s sexual organs and sexual identity”). Thus, an employer cannot discriminate on the basis of transgender status without imposing its stereotypical notions of how sexual organs and gender identity ought to align. There is no way to disaggregate discrimination on the basis of transgender status from discrimination on the basis of gender non-conformity, and we see no reason to try.”

If you are a transgender employee experiencing discrimination at work, please contact Mark P. Carey, PC to determine how to stop the illegal behavior.