EEOC: Transgender Workers Protected By Federal Human Rights Act!
April 24, 2012 3 Comments
A five member, bipartisan, federal commission has ruled that employer discrimination based on a person’s gender identity is a violation of the 1964 civil rights act.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission says that such action violates Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
Metro Weekly’s Chris Geidner reports,”The opinion came in a decision delivered on Monday, April 23, to lawyers for Mia Macy, a transgender woman who claims she was denied employment with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) after the agency learned of her transition. It also comes on the heels of a growing number of federal appellate and trial courts deciding that gender-identity discrimination constitutes sex discrimination, whether based on Title VII or the constitutional guarantee of equal protection of the laws.”
According to a press release from the Transgender Law Center, the decision will have broad implications for transgender individuals across the country,”Because the EEOC is the agency charged with interpreting and enforcing federal discrimination laws throughout the nation. The EEOC’s decision will impact every employer, public and private, throughout the nation. The decision is entitled to significant deference by the courts, and will be binding on all federal agencies.”
Masen Davis, Transgender Law Center’s Executive Director, tells Metro Weekly, ”Given that transgender people do not have employment protections in the vast majority of states, this creates a whole new fabric of legal support for our community.”
”When an employer discriminates against someone because the person is transgender, the employer has engaged in disparate treatment related to the sex of the victim,” the decision states. ”This is true regardless of whether an employer discriminates against an employee because the individual has expressed his or her gender in a non-stereotypical fashion, because the employer is uncomfortable with the fact that the person has transitioned or is in the process of transitioning from one gender to another, or because the employer simply does not like that the person is identifying as a transgender person,” reports Geidner.
“The decision today follows a clear trend by federal courts in recent years holding that transgender people are protected by Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination,” says the Center’s press release.