If you are experiencing discrimination at a job because you are transgender, you are not alone. Some studies indicate that as many as three quarters of transgender people experience discrimination or harassment at work because they are trans. And more than a quarter of transgender people have lost a job because they are transgender. But you should know that you have legal protections. In 2020 the Supreme Court ruled that transgender people are protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights Act. Title VII says that employers cannot discriminate against employees based on race, sex, religion, or place of birth. The Supreme Court ruled that sex discrimination includes discrimination against transgender workers.
So if you are trans and you are experiencing workplace harassment or discrimination you can file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC is a Federal agency that investigates cases of workplace discrimination. The EEOC works with the state labor authorities in 44 states as well. If you file a complaint against an employer and you live or work in one of those 44 states the EEOC will send copies of your complaint and supporting documents to the state. Then the state will investigate whether or not the employer broke any state laws.
Examples Of Workplace Discrimination
Transgender people may experience discrimination such as:
Not Getting Raises Or Promotions
It’s common to get regular raises after you have worked at a place for a set period of time. It’s also expected that you will be promoted or given the chance to advance if you are doing a good job. If you have not been given any scheduled raises or you have been passed over for promotion that’s discrimination.
Targeted Bullying or Harassment
Bullying and harassment are the most common types of discrimination faced by transgender people. Coworkers calling you names, using transgender slurs, trying to “guess” your “real” identity, making derogatory comments or promoting offensive stereotypes, or in any way bullying or harassing you are engaging in illegal activity.
Using Your Dead Name
If you have come out as trans and started your transition while you were working at your current employer and your coworkers or bosses refuse to use your chosen name and refer to you by your dead name that’s discrimination. It’s also discrimination if they refuse to use your correct pronouns.
Filing A Workplace Discrimination Claim
Whenever you experience discrimination or harassment, you should write down the date and time, what happened and who was involved. This list will be proof of what you’re experiencing. You should also get as much supporting evidence as you can. That means making copies of documents, printing out emails, chats, or abusive online messages, taking photos, and keeping screenshots of any discrimination that you experience. Take copies of everything you have, including your list, to the HR department and to your boss. Let them know that discrimination is a violation of the Civil Rights Act and that you expect it to stop. If they refuse to help you or tell you that you’re not really being discriminated against go to the EEOC’s website. You can file a complaint directly through the website.
You can also file a complaint on the state level. In New York, you can file a discrimination complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights (DHR). When you file a discrimination complaint on the state level in New York, it will be dual filed with the EEOC. That way you don’t have to file two complaints.
Remedies For Harassment And Discrimination
Employers can face stiff penalties for allowing discrimination against employees. If you were denied a raise or a promotion you could be given that raise or promotion and a lump sum of money for back wages dating to the time when you should have received them. You also may receive money for pain and suffering if you were harassed or bullied.