If you are a transgender person living in America today, chances are you have some grave concerns about the current political climate – specifically with regard to transgender discrimination in the workplace. As longtime Los Angeles gender discrimination attorneys, it’s been difficult to see certain federal-level protections wane or threatened, especially because they weren’t all that solid to start. What you need to know as a transgender person in California is that this state does have protections, even if federal authorities ultimately decide to narrow the definition of gender for Title IX purposes, which bans discrimination in education, and Title VII federal civil rights employment discrimination. As L.A. employment attorneys can explain, these protections are based on five different categories – which includes gender.
Federal Government May Limit Transgender Employee Protections
A number of recent reports indicate that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is getting ready to formally present a proposal to the Justice Department before the close of this year that would more strictly define gender as binary – a biological, immutable condition defined by the genitalia with which one is born. Of course, almost every transgender person will tell you that they did not “choose” to their gender identity, but rather it chose them. This is very similar to sexual orientation, though this is a wholly separate issue from gender identity.
Despite the fact that the American Medical Association has debunked any notion that trans people aren’t fit to serve in the U.S. military or that gender dysphoria (distress arising from a perceived mismatch of the gender with which one was born versus the one with which one identifies) is a problem that can’t be alleviated with care. Some political groups have gone so far as to disguise junk science from an anti-LGBTQ group (American College of Pediatricians) as the longstanding, respected and gender-affirming American Academy of Pediatrics.
But none of this stopped the U.S. Justice Department from arguing before the U.S. Supreme Court that Title VII doesn’t protect transgender employees from employment discrimination based on gender identity. This was after the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission won a case against a Midwestern funeral home that fired an employee for being transgender.
California Protects Transgender Workers
Since 2011, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act has expressly barred discrimination of workers on the basis of their gender identity. Then last year, the CFEH Council provided an expanded definition of gender identity to include one’s “internal understanding of their gender,” and offering an array of possible identities – including both or neither. This protections applies regardless of whether a worker expressed this in his or her own external presentation and it supports transgender workers who are transitioning to begin living their life as the gender with which he or she identifies. An update to the law earlier this year via Senate Bill 396 mandates Transgender Rights in the Workplace posters and requires companies to incorporate training on sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in their harassment prevention training programs.
The bottom line is that regardless of what the federal government ultimately chooses, transgender workers in California should be protected. Those whose rights have been violated or who suspect they have faced transgender discrimination at work should contact a Los Angeles transgender discrimination attorney promptly.
Contact the employment attorneys at Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Orange County, Riverside and Los Angeles. Call 949.375.4734.
‘Transgender’ Could Be Defined Out of Existence Under Trump Administration, Oct. 21, 2018, By Erica L. Green, New York Times
More Blog Entries:
Employer Discrimination Lawsuits: Facebook Job Ads Allow Unlawful Hiring Bias, Sept. 18, 2018, Los Angeles Transgender Discrimination Lawyer Blog