Transgender people face some big challenges when it comes to harassment and discrimination on both personal and professional levels. And the negative impact stemming from violence and prejudiced actions on these individuals can have damaging, life-long effects.

To stand up to transgender discrimination in the workplace, some restaurant owners in California have decided to form a transgender jobs program that connects restaurants with transgender people who are looking for work.

California Restaurant Association Launches The California Trans Workplace Project

The California Trans Workplace Project is the nation’s first serious attempt at alleviating the burden for transgender people who cannot find work due to their gender identity. Transgender discrimination in the workplace is a key reason why the United States’ transgender unemployment rate is two times that of other out-of-work Americans. But this new transgender jobs program is ready to handle this unfortunate issue.

According to NPR, Michaela Mendelsohn, the founder of the California Trans Workplace Project and an El Pollo Loco franchise owner, has been hiring transgender workers for almost five years. In fact, she says 8 to 10 percent of her employees identify as transgender. The California Restaurant Association wants its 22,000 members to use Mendelsohn’s trans-friendly hiring practices as a model for their own restaurants.

This past August, Mendelsohn hosted a transgender employees training seminar in Los Angeles.

California DFEH to Offer Grants to Restaurants Hiring Trans Workers

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) is helping to combat this civil rights issue, too. Restaurants that decide to participate in the new transgender jobs program receive a certification from the DFEH. There is even a grant that pays for new hires’ wages (60 hours’ worth). Not only that, but the program includes training on how employees can manage situations where customers refuse to interact with transgender workers.

Facts About Transgender Discrimination & Harassment in the Workplace

Even when transgender people are employed, nearly 80 percent have reported facing harassment or discrimination at work. Transgender employees also face wage inequality (despite being among one of the most educated groups in the nation), and are four times more likely to have household incomes of less than $10,000 annually. This is below the federal poverty level for one person (in 2016, the nation’s poverty level is $11,880).

Transgender Discrimination in the California Workplace: For Further Reading

  • 7 Empowering Transgender Resources & Organizations in Los Angeles
  • EEOC Releases Transgender Bathroom Access Fact Sheet
  • LGBT Inequality in the Workplace: Common Issues
  • Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender in America
  • Transgender Rights in the Workplace: Infographic
  • SB 703 Expands Transgender Employee Rights in California, Offers Equal Benefits

The passionate California employment attorneys at Hennig Ruiz volunteer their time to the Los Angeles LGBTQ community. Our team is dedicated to protecting transgender employees from discrimination and harassment. If you feel that your employer is discriminating against you due to your gender identity or sexual orientation, contact us today for a free consultation.