Responding to restroom accommodation requests from transgender employees

July 16, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Brian Bouchard

Fifty-two years ago, Bob Dylan penned the now-famous lyrics “The times they are a-changin’.” True enough, Mr. Dylan, but for many, changes come slowly, and as the late David Bowie sang: “The days still seem the same.” This can be true in regard to laws, which sometimes struggle to keep pace with changes in society. Would it surprise you to learn that only last May, Congress removed archaic racial terminology like “Oriental” and “Negro” from the federal lexicon?   Bathroom sign

For employers dealing with transgender-related issues, the changing times have exposed a legal void of uncertainty. Time magazine recently called transgender issues the “New Civil Rights Frontier.” Yet despite a shifting and dynamic public perspective on transgender issues, Congress and federal agencies have provided little guidance to employers. As a result, many employers have been left in the dark, trying to divine the best way to deal with various related issues. None is as vexing as restroom accommodations.

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EEOC maintains steady position on transgender employees’ rights

June 18, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by JW Furman

With all the attention given to President Donald Trump’s recent removal of the Obama administration’s protection for transgender bathroom access, it’s important to remember that the action applies only to public school students. For employers, the issue remains as unsettled as ever.  EEOC-jpg

There’s no reason to believe that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will soften its stand on any transgender issue unless it is required to by the president or the court. The EEOC is strongly committed to its enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination and harassment based on sex or gender. Its interpretation has long been that gender stereotyping and gender identity discrimination are prohibited by Title VII. With the support of President Barack Obama, the agency became more aggressive about advocating transgender issues, but its general philosophy and long-standing interpretation of Title VII didn’t change.

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U.S. Supreme Court to consider transgender restroom lawsuit

January 15, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Ryan B. Frazier

During the 1990s, Saturday Night Live, a popular TV sketch comedy show, featured a recurring gender-ambiguous character, Pat. The gag in Pat’s comedy sketches often involved others’ failed attempts to determine the seemingly androgynous character’s gender. The skits played off the then-prevailing view that a person’s gender falls into one of two categories: male or female.  Gender transition concept

Society’s view of gender has evolved significantly since then. The rigid dichotomy of a two-gender world view is frequently challenged and, in some cases, rejected outright. As society’s views on gender morph, the law is attempting to keep pace.

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What’s gender identity got to do with work?

December 18, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Amanda M. JonesGender Identity

From Bruce Jenner’s announcement that he was transitioning to become a woman named “Caitlyn” to North Carolina’s passage of a so-called bathroom bill requiring schools and public agencies to restrict bathroom use to the facility corresponding to a person’s biological sex at birth, gender identity issues have become the subject of significant policy debate, lawsuits, and mainstream conversation. Gender identity is also increasingly becoming a more prevalent issue in our workplaces.

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How do ‘bathroom bills’ affect employers in other states?

October 16, 2016 0 COMMENTS

Sex stereotyping, same-sex harassment, and transgender issues in the workplace

May 15, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Amanda Shelby

We typically think of sex discrimination and sexual harassment as involving two employees of the opposite sex, but that unlawful activity can occur between employees of the same sex, too. Although federal law doesn’t explicitly recognize gender identity or sexual orientation as protected characteristics, several states and cities have passed ordinances prohibiting adverse action on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. Additionally, in its 2013-16 Strategic Enforcement Plan, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) emphasized the emerging issue of LGBT rights in the workplace. Gender Identity

A brief overview of the law

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Gender identity in the workplace: Employers face emerging discrimination issue

July 19, 2015 0 COMMENTS

When the Olympian and reality TV star the world knew as Bruce Jenner announced this spring that he identifies as female rather than male, the resulting publicity put a new employment issue into focus: Controversy surrounding gender identity is more than fodder for reality TV. It also poses workplace discrimination questions as well as practical dilemmas such as restroom access. Transgender Bathroom

Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn’t specifically address gender identity, more and more that granddaddy of discrimination laws is being interpreted as prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. In December 2014, a memorandum from then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated: “I have determined that the best reading of Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.” He went on to say that the U.S. Department of Justice “will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex does not encompass gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination.”

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EEOC brings first lawsuits alleging transgender discrimination

December 14, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Arielle B. Sepulveda

On September 25, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed two lawsuits, the first actions by the agency in which it has alleged that discharging an employee because she is transgender constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex and therefore violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In light of the increasing societal and judicial recognition of LGBT rights, employers must be aware of the potential workplace issues faced by employees who don’t conform to traditional gender norms.  Transgender

Background

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The role of leadership in creating transgender-inclusive workplaces

August 12, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Dr. Jamison Green

Corporate leaders agree that diverse and inclusive workplaces are more productive, versatile, and adaptive in a changing marketplace. But often, when managers think of gender diversity, they think only about gender parity between men and women, or about opening traditionally male occupations to women, or vice versa. Creating a transgender-inclusive workplace is an opportunity to create even more awareness about gender, and to eliminate the prejudices and limitations we impose on people because of our assumptions about gender and sex stereotypes.  PositiveLeadership

Employers may not even be aware that they may already have transgender people in their workforce. Not all transgender people will go through an “on-the-job” transition, nor will they be “obvious” in their appearance. Some employees may have transgender family members or friends, and knowing that there are employers who actively do not discriminate against this segment of the population can be a source of relief and even pride.

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What’s the status of transgender employees in the workplace?

November 17, 2013 0 COMMENTS

by Raanon Gal and Chad A. Shultz

The law regarding the rights of transgender employees is evolving, with a clear trend toward the recognition and protection of the rights of transgender individuals. Just five years ago, employers in the United States likely would not have considered whether transgender employees were protected by federal employment laws. At most, employers would have considered whether state or local laws extended protections to transgender employees. However, the global community has been active regarding the protection of transgender employees’ rights in the workplace, and now it seems that the federal government is on track to join that trend. 

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