The last few years have seen a surge of transgender people finally coming out of the shadows and speaking about their gender identity. If you were not aware before, you may discover that your co-worker identifies as transgender, or if you are transgender you may be more inclined to identify as such at work. There are more questions than ever about whether there are laws to protect transgender employees in the workplace. Indeed, civil rights law have always protected people from discrimination based on their gender. Yet, federal and state laws have yet to catch up to all potential pit-falls that could impact transgender employees. For example, there are no federal laws specifically concerning bathroom access for transgender employees in the workplace, but that does not mean that the issue cannot be addressed in a legal environment.
As a result of the recent transgender revolution in our country, now there are workplaces cropping up that specifically support transgender employees. For example, one transgender woman and restaurant owner, Michaela Mendelson of El Pollo Loco in Southern California has promoted her business as a place where much of her staff is transgender. Ms. Mendelson states that, as a businesswoman, she seeks to encourage other transgender people to become entrepreneurs and hire members of the transgender community. She participates in local small business associations as part of this mission. Some workers in Ms. Mendelson’s business claim that it is the first time they are working as the gender with which they truly identify. This makes them feel confident in their abilities and ultimately better workers.
Yet what happens when transgender workers are not welcome in a workplace? Is it legal for their boss to instruct them to dress according to their sex assigned at birth? Is it legal for transgender employees to be told that they cannot utilize the bathroom of the gender with which they identify? Transgender employees may also experience harassment from other employees even if management is supportive of the employee’s openly transgender identity. Similarly, transgender employees could encounter problems with clients who have a negative reaction to someone identifying as transgender. Although Ms. Mendelson supports transgender employees in her workplace, employees reported that there have been a few problems with customers being as welcoming to the transgender staff in the past.
With over 150,000 people between the ages of 13 and 17 in the United States identifying as transgender, these issues are going to become more prevalent in our courts. Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of discrimination based on their LGBT status should seek the advice of a qualified employment discrimination lawyer with experience handling these types of cases.
Philadelphia Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. Represent Transgender Employees Facing Discrimination in the Workplace
The Philadelphia discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates P.C. are committed to protecting the rights of transgender employees facing discrimination at work. If you have experienced discrimination at work because of your transgender status, call 215-569-1999 or contact us online to arrange a free case evaluation with an experienced Philadelphia discrimination lawyer.