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Federal Government Web Site Protects Transgender Rights

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By Kamika Dunlap on January 21, 2010 11:45 AM

New language inserted in the U.S. Jobs federal government web site (www.usajobs.com) now protects transgender rights.

The structuring of new language introduced on the federal jobs Web site protects a small transgender population (those working for federal agencies) against workplace discrimination.

For example, here is a page from the USA Job's site on how to report discrimination. It includes gender identity as one of the protected classes of employees. 

As noted by the New York Times, the U.S. job site bans bias over gender identity. The Obama administration has developed language on the site for people who identify their gender differently from the information on their birth certificates. The administration has said discrimination in the federal workplace would not be accepted.

President Obama recently named Amanda Simpson to be a Senior Technical Advisor to the Commerce Department. Simpson is one of the first transgender presidential appointees to the federal government.

Simpson has been open about being transgender and in the past shared her story with a few media outlets.

The move to ban employment discrimination on the federal government Web site supports the administration's recently drafted a policy explicitly warning federal supervisors about discrimination against transgender employees.

The provisions, updated in a federal handbook for managers and supervisors are designed to help give transgender workers avenues within the federal government to protest a job action as discriminatory.

As previously discussed, other places around the country including New York already have taken steps including gender identity and expression protections in state law. Under the law, transgender New York employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace.

In addition, about 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.

Here are some tips to suggest to employers so they don't discriminate against transgender individuals:

  • Add the term "gender identity" or "gender expression" into the company's HR policies as a protected category
  • Include a policy dealing with "gender transition"
  • Educate all employees about transgender terms 
  • Make sure the company has a privacy policy in place to ensure the privacy of employees (for cases where transition occurred before employment)
  • Make the company's any dress code is gender neutral
  • Make sure that the company's health insurance does not discriminate against employees... transgender or not
  • If employee is in the process of transitioning, make sure the company documents 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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