President Donald Trump announced via Twitter last week that transgender individuals are no longer permitted to enlist or serve in the military. Although this ban is only applicable to the military, employees and employers are concerned of its impact on the workplace.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately eight million transgender employees in the private and public sector. “Transgender” refers to individuals whose gender identity and/or expression is different from the sex assigned to them at birth (e.g., the sex listed on an original birth certificate). Currently, transgender employees and applicants are afforded protection under federal and state laws.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual’s race, religion, color, sex, and national origin. During the Obama administration, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) held in Macy v. Dep’t of Justice that discrimination based on transgender status is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII. Multiple federal appellate courts, including the First Circuit, Sixth Circuit, Ninth Circuit, and Eleventh Circuit, also held that transgender discrimination is a form of sex discrimination under Title VII. Additionally, 19 states and approximately 200 municipalities prohibit transgender discrimination in the workplace, according to the American Civil Liberties Union. Besides the recent military transgender ban, there has not been any other federal legislation or executive orders that impact transgender rights in the workplace.
However, employers should still consider how their current policies and practices may impact transgender employees and applicants. In doing so, employers should review their policies, handbooks, hiring methods, and discharge procedures, as well as incorporate inclusive training for current employees.
For additional information on this or any related topic, please contact Indiana labor and employment law attorney Olivia Robinson at (812) 423-3183 or orobinson@KDDK.com, or contact any member of the KDDK Labor and Employment Law Practice Team.
About the Author
Olivia Robinson is an Indiana labor and employment law attorney who leverages her strong legal research, organization and communication skills as she advises employers on avoiding and defending against harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other employment-related claims in federal and state courts and before local, state and federal administrative agencies.