There are several reasons to be hopeful about the future of transgender issues in the workplace. Acceptance and awareness of transgender issues are growing in the general population and the business world. Between 2002 and 2017, the percentage of Fortune 500 companies with workplace protections based on gender identity increased from 3% to 83%.
Nonetheless, there still are several troubling transgender issues in the workplace. Transgender employees face various obstacles in workplace cultures and high levels of abuse and harassment. The key to creating trans-friendly workplaces is better understanding their unique challenges and tailoring practices and policies to their diverse needs. If you have faced sexual discrimination in the workplace, know that you can seek help from an Austin employment lawyer and protect your rights.
There are numerous obstacles to employment for transgender people.
With a three times higher unemployment rate than the national average, much of the transgender employment discrimination experienced by these workers manifests itself during the hiring process.
Once in the workplace, transgender employees face many additional challenges, including shocking rates of outright abuse, well-meaning but unprepared employers, and workplace cultures where trans employees are punished for even inadvertently revealing their identity.
What are your rights at work?
It is illegal to refuse to hire, fire, harass, or in any way discriminate against someone because of their sex assigned at birth, gender transition, gender identity, or transgender status, according to federal laws against sex and disability discrimination. Many states and municipalities also have laws that explicitly prohibit gender identity and/or expression discrimination in the workplace.
You have the right not to be fired or denied a job or promotion because of your gender identity.
This is true even if your state or municipality has not passed legislation prohibiting gender identity discrimination.
You have the right to be treated with dignity and without harassment.
When sex-based harassment is severe or widespread, and an employer does nothing to stop it, it is illegal. Sex-based harassment can take the following forms:
- Jokes or disparaging remarks about transgender people
- Intentional and repeated use of the incorrect name or pronouns
- Personal questions that are intrusive and disrespectful may be considered harassment.
You have the right to restrooms and other safe and appropriate facilities for your gender identity.
Several federal courts and the EEOC have ruled that denying access to facilities that correspond to your gender identity constitutes discrimination. Employers cannot require medical or legal documentation of your gender as a condition of restroom access, nor can they require you to use a separate restroom from other employees. Agencies may also not require you to use unsanitary, potentially dangerous facilities or located at an unreasonable distance from your workstation.