In New York, city and state anti-discrimination laws forbid employers from discriminating against an employee on the basis of gender identity. While the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination as forbidding transgender discrimination, courts have been divided on the question of whether transgender people are protected under the sex discrimination provision of Title VII. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which has jurisdiction over New York State, has not yet ruled on whether Title VII’s sex discrimination provision encompasses transgender discrimination.
Transgender discrimination involves treating an applicant or employee unfavorably because of their gender identity: for example, refusing to hire a transgender woman solely because she is transgender, or prohibiting a transgender man from using the men’s restroom. Harassment on the basis of transgender status can include making offensive or derogatory remarks about a person’s gender identity, using transphobic slurs, or repeatedly and intentionally refusing to use a transgender employee’s preferred name and gender pronouns.
Harassment is illegal when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment action, such as suspension or termination. Harassers and discriminators can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or someone who is not an employee of the employer, such as a client or customer.
The law forbids discrimination when it comes to any aspect of employment, including hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. If a person is treated badly by their employer for their complaints of transgender discrimination or harassment—for example, by being terminated after complaining about discrimination—they may also have a retaliation claim.
The Harman Firm, LLP is committed to protecting the rights of employees who have been discriminated against based on their gender identity. Contact the experienced, dedicated legal professionals at The Harman Firm, LLP for supportive counseling and aggressive representation in transgender discrimination claims.