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Rights in the Workplace: Transgender Employment

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By Minara El-Rahman on December 09, 2009 9:10 AM

As discussed in FindLaw's Law and Daily Life, a transgender teen is filing an employment discrimination complaint against McDonald's because she claims that they refused to hire her because she is transgender. The story brings up the important issue of workplace rights for transgender employment.

As of April 3, 2008, 98 cities and counties reportedly prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity in employment ordinances that govern public and private employers in those jurisdictions.

While current state laws differ widely and are in a state of flux, what is clear is that transgender employees have suffered from many forms of discrimination in the workplace.

According to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, around 47 % of transgender people report being fired, or denied a job or promotion, because of their trans status.

Here are some tips to prevent being one of those employers that discriminate against transgender individuals:

  • Add the term "gender identity" or "gender expression" into your own HR policies as a protected category
  • Include a policy dealing with "gender transition"
  • Educate your employees about transgender terms  
  • Make sure you have a privacy policy in place to ensure the privacy of your employees (if transition occurred before employment)
  • Make your any dress code is gender neutral
  • Make sure that your health insurance does not discriminate against your employees... transgender or not
  • If your employee is in the process of transitioning, make sure to document that in their file. Update their file, their name, etc.

All of these measures are just a small step in order to ensure that all of your employees have rights in the workplace.

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