Are Transgender Employees Protected from Workplace Discrimination?

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Unfortunately, there are far too many reports of transgender employees being discriminated against due to their gender identity or gender expression. Such discrimination may be seen through severe harassment or even physical or sexual assaults. Read on to discover how transgender employees are protected from workplace discrimination and how a seasoned New York sexual orientation discrimination lawyer at Bell Law Group fights for these rights.

How are transgender employees protected from workplace discrimination?

New York State has enacted laws that prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace. Notably, gender identity, gender expression, or being intersex are included within this statutory definition of sexual orientation discrimination. These laws apply to virtually every private and public place of work in the state.

More specifically, New York State’s Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination (SONDA) Act of 2003, “prohibits discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation in employment, housing, public accommodations, education, credit, and the exercise of civil rights.” And in 2009, Governor David Patterson made an amendment to include gender identity in the SONDA Act.

Later on, New York State passed the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination (GENDA) Act of 2019. The purpose of the GENDA Act is to, “prohibit discrimination based on gender identity or expression,” which is defined as, “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristics regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth.”

And lastly, federal law states that an employer who mistreats an individual merely for being transgender does violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

What are examples of workplace discrimination due to gender identity or gender expression?

Workplace discrimination due to gender identity or gender expression can be seen in many different ways. For example, it is considered discrimination if an employer refuses to hire an applicant simply because they do not fit their perceived construct of what gender should look like. Or, it is also considered discrimination if an employer enforced strict rules regarding which gender can use which bathroom in the workplace.

In a similar sense, harassment can be seen if an employer demotes, fires, or reassigns an employee simply due to their gender identity or gender expression. Or, it can also be seen if a supervisor expresses their belief of transitioning to be “insulting” or “unnatural.”

With that being said, if you have been made a victim of any of the above discriminatory actions or otherwise, then you may have a workplace discrimination claim on your hands. You may just be entitled to monetary damages as well as other injunctive relief. So if you are ready to explore your legal options, you must retain the legal services of a competent New York discrimination lawyer as soon as you can.

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