The Transgender Law Center hailed the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on Monday as its recent ruling on transgender employees went into effect.
The EEOC, the federal agency that interprets and enforces laws against workplace discrimination, ruled in April that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender workers from employment discrimination.
“This is a historic day for human rights in the United States,” Masen Davis, the executive director of the The Transgender Law Center.
“From the Deep South to my home state of Missouri, starting today transgender and gender non-conforming people now have legal recourse if they face discrimination on the job. We no longer have to be silent when we are fired or not hired simply for being who we are. If you think you are being targeted for harassment or discrimination at work, I urge you to contact your local EEOC office and file a complaint.”
The EEOC held that “intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender” was sex discrimination and therefore a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
According to The National Transgender Discrimination Survey, published in February 2011, 47 percent of respondents have been fired, not hired or denied a promotion because they were transgender. Ninety percent of transgender respondents reported being harassed or feeling mistreated on the job.
“It’s incredibly significant that the Commission has finally put its stamp of approval on the common-sense understanding that discrimination against transgender people is a form of sex discrimination,” Transgender Law Center’s Legal Director Ilona Turner explained. “That’s true whether it’s understood as discrimination because of the person’s gender identity, or because they have changed their sex, or because they don’t conform to other people’s stereotypes of how men and women ought to be.”
[Image via Kenji-Baptiste OIKAWA, Creative Commons licensed]