What it is:
Transgender people, or people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth, experience disproportionately high rates of discrimination. Shockingly, there’s currently no federal law preventing discrimination against trans people in the workplace — even though more than 75% of trans people have reported experiencing workplace discrimination. That said, existing laws preventing discrimination on the basis of sex are often used to resolve cases of discrimination against trans people.
How to spot it:
- Discrimination against trans people in the workplace often occurs when employers or colleagues create a hostile work environment for transgender people -- for example, referring to them by the wrong gender or pronouns, making fun of them for being trans, or asking them invasive questions -- or when an employer refuses to hire a trans people, or fires existing trans employees, on the basis of their identity.
Three ways to fight it:
- Encourage inclusivity around gender in the workplace: Become an advocate for trans and gender nonconforming people in the workplace by encouraging your company to take a few simple steps towards equality: for example, providing all-gender bathrooms and encouraging people to share their pronouns as a way to start a meeting with new people. (The latter can be done easily by setting an example when you speak, e.g. “Hi, I’m Kayla, she/her/hers, and this morning we’re focusing on ____.”
- Try to resolve it within the workplace: If you hear someone using the wrong pronoun or making offensive comments about gender diverse people in your office, and if you’re comfortable doing so, speak directly to the person, or to a supervisor Sometimes, it’s just a matter of explaining why the comments constitute harassment, or asking for support from a supervisor. In any case, keep a record of everything that occurs and all actions that you take.
- File a complaint: If nothing changes when you bring your claims to your employers, you can file a claim with the EEOC here.
- Learn more about discrimination against trans people in the workplace and how to get help at the National Center for Transgender Equality.
- Check out “FAQ: Answers to Common Questions About Transgender Workplace Rights” from Lambda Legal.
- For more tips on how to be an ally for transgender people, read this resource from glad.