Transgender workers should be aware that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency that is charged with jurisdiction of federal employment discrimination law, has taken the position that transgender people are a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects workers from discrimination based on gender.
That means that adverse employment actions, such as firing, demoting, or creating a hostile work environment, among other protected actions, are illegal if they occur because the person identifies as transgender or because he or she is perceived as transgender. This is a more recent development in the law, which has protected employees from gender discrimination since 1964.
This is major development in the interpretation of workplace discrimination laws, even though transgender and sexual orientation are not specifically mentioned in the federal law. In addition to transgender workers, LGBTQ workers are now recognized as protected classes under the law. This means that if a worker feels as though an adverse employment action or hostile workplace existed as a result of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, it could be found to be a violation of federal law.
Fired as a Result of Discrimination
A recent case that was filed in federal court against a nursing facility in Easton, Pennsylvania cited instances where the transgender person heard other employees state that she would go to hell based on her transgender status. Additionally, the transgender employee alleged that she was repeatedly incorrectly referred to as a male and her former male name was listed on the assignment sheet instead of her current female name. The plaintiff stated that when she complained about these issues related to her transgender status that she was then terminated. Therefore, the plaintiff in this matter could also allege that she was a victim of retaliation since she was fired after complaining about the discrimination.
Transgender Workers Protected Under State Law
Additionally, the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission recently added sexual orientation and gender identity to its definition of protected classes in the workplace. Therefore, Pennsylvania is among the growing number of states where a transgender worker is protected both under state and federal law while working the state. Even if state and federal laws do not name transgender people directly in the law, judges can find discrimination against transgender people under the aspect of the law, which prohibits discrimination based on gender.
Chester County LGBTQ Discrimination Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Fight for Those Harmed by Discrimination at Work
Discrimination as a result of gender identity or sexual orientation at work can happen regardless of gender or age. If you or someone you know has experienced harassment and have either complained at work or are considering making a complaint related to gender identity or sexual orientation, contact the Chester County LGBTQ discrimination lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free case evaluation. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.