While workplace discrimination laws are well established for many groups, protections for transgender workers are a relatively recent development. According to U.S. News & World Report, transgender people do have access to certain protections at work. However, that does not mean the fight for equal treatment has ended.
While it is up to your employer to treat you appropriately, you should also know your rights when it comes to workplace treatment. This knowledge allows you to take the proper steps should discrimination or harassment occur.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prevents sex-based discrimination. However, there is debate on the federal level whether those protections also extend to gender identity. Transgender people have legal footing if they are sexually harassed or subject to a hostile work environment, but some claim that the term “sex” does not extend to gender identity.
Local rules and regulations
California is one of many states that prohibits ill-treatment of people based on gender identity in their place of work. Unlike federal legislation, these local laws explicitly state that transgender individuals cannot receive discrimination based on their gender status. This includes passing over trans employees for raises and promotions, failing to hire trans workers because of their gender identity, or subjecting workers to ill-treatment, such as isolating them from customers and clients.
What workers can do about discrimination
The first step is to make your supervisor aware of the issue. Employers must act against workplace discrimination to ensure an inclusive environment. You can also file a complaint with your human resources department, which ensures there is a record of the offenses you have experienced.
Every worker deserves respectful and dignified treatment. While things are changing for the better, many employers still have a long way to go when it comes to trans workers and their rights.