Discrimination against transgender persons in the workplace is rampant and, up until recently, was not even addressed by anti-discrimination laws. Unfortunately, based on misinformation and ignorance, many employers assume things about transgender individuals that simply are not true. Others turn a blind eye to challenges transgender employees can face in the workplace from bigoted coworkers. While transgender workers may feel like there is nowhere for them to turn, there are, at least in New York, strong laws in place to protect them from discrimination. These laws will only broaden as society in general becomes more open and accepting. At Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP, our NYC employment discrimination attorneys remain on the cutting edge of this constantly developing area of law. Our legal team is proud to assist victims of transgender discrimination and, by doing so, play an important role in expanding the rights and protections afforded transgender people.What laws protect transgender workers?
There is currently no federal law that specifically applies to workplace discrimination against transgender workers. However, this does not mean they are without protection. Statutes and case law support transgender rights, including:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that administers and enforces workplace discrimination laws, has taken the position that discrimination against transgender individuals is a form of gender discrimination and therefore prohibited under the Civil Rights Act.
Courts have clearly held that transgender discrimination is prohibited in New York State under the Human Rights Law as a form of gender discrimination. Moreover, the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act (GENDA) is currently pending legislation that would explicitly prohibit gender identity discrimination in New York State. Additionally, there is a standing executive order prohibiting transgender discrimination in state government employment in New York.
Several major municipalities in New York have enacted local ordinances that prohibit transgender discrimination in employment, including New York City, Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, and Rochester and the counties of Suffolk, Tompkins and Westchester. These heavily populated areas account for a significant percentage of the state's total population.
The precise scope of protection available to transgender employees and applicants may differ depending on the particular law or ordinance involved. New York City, however, treats transgender discrimination in much the same way as other types of discrimination. These actions can be discriminatory:
- Refusing to hire a transgender applicant
- Firing or demoting an employee the employer learns to be transgender
- Placing transgender employees in positions that limit their contact with the public
- Subjecting transgender employees to harassment
- Failing to take steps to address harassment perpetrated by coworkers or customers
- Treating a transgendered person less well than others
While prohibitions against transgender discrimination are not yet universal throughout the United States, enough states and major municipalities have adopted such prohibitions that victims usually do have options. Moreover, it is likely only a matter of time before strong and direct legislation against this type of conduct is enacted at the state and federal levels. Transgender people in New York certainly have recourse, and we are happy to be taking the fight to violating employers in New York's courts.Contact a law firm that knows how to address transgender discrimination
Lawmakers in many areas are just beginning to realize the problem of transgender discrimination in employment and the harm and injustice it causes. As more people realize that a person should not be denied employment or advancement based on gender identity, these laws will only become stronger and more widespread. Our team of New York employment discrimination lawyers at Joseph & Kirschenbaum LLP understands the scope of current laws that prohibit transgender discrimination and remains apprised of the latest legislative and judicial developments. If you have been subjected to workplace discrimination because of your gender identity, we are here to listen and to help. Call our office today at (212) 688-5640 or contact us online to arrange a free initial assessment. Se habla espanol.