The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) published a transgender employee fact sheet on Monday that concludes it's a civil rights violation to deny transgender workers the right to use gender-identity appropriate bathrooms. This is a step in the right direction in giving transgender individuals the freedom to be themselves without fear of being subjected to workplace discrimination.
EEOC Says Transgender Discrimination is Illegal
According to the EEOC, transgender discrimination is considered sex discrimination and therefore illegal under Title VII of the Civil Rights act of 1964. For workers in California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act also prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.
The EEOC's new guide that was issued to employers describes how Title VII of the Civil Rights Act applies to transgender employees and their bathroom rights. It also emphasizes that if employers fail to provide transgender workers with equal bathroom access that corresponds with their gender identity, this behavior constitutes sex discrimination under federal employment law.
EEOC Bathroom Access Rights for Transgender Employees: Quick Facts
In addition to deeming transgender discrimination illegal under Title VII, the EEOC's new guide also provides clarity to both employers and employees on the following key issues:
- It is considered discrimination if an employer conditions a worker's right to use his/her preferred bathroom on proof that he/she had surgery or other medical procedures.
- It is considered sex discrimination for an employer to force a transgender worker to use a single-user bathroom (though bathrooms of this type can be made available to all employees regardless of gender).
- If an employer denies an employee equal access to a common restroom that corresponds to an employee's gender identity, the behavior is considered illegal according to the new guide.
The EEOC's new bathroom guide for transgender workers also claims that contrary state law is not a defense under Title VII. In fact, some states have recently passed laws restricting transgender individuals' bathroom rights (North Carolina, Mississippi), and others are considering their own (West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana).
The good news is that many other states, cities and municipalities have adopted their own laws that fall in line with the EEOC's stance on transgender workers' rights. These states are working to ensure that gender identity is a protected characteristic - including the state of California.
You can read the fact sheet in its entirety, here: Fact Sheet: Bathroom Access Rights for Transgender Employees Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Even with anti-discrimination laws in place, sex and gender discrimination still occurs. If you are a transgender employee in California and are being discriminated against or harassed on the job, we're here to fight for your rights. Contact the passionate California transgender discrimination lawyers at Hennig Ruiz today for your free consultation.