How Do Employment Laws Protect Transgender Workers?

Did you know that many federal and state employment laws in California protect gay and transgender employees?

It is important to remember that many sexual harassment laws apply whether the person being harassed is a man or a woman, or if both the harasser and victim are of the same sex. In many circumstances, they also apply to gays and lesbians.

Recently, President Barack Obama ordered protections for gay and transgender employees nationwide, who work for the federal government or in positions for companies holding federal contracts. According to the Associated Press, Obama said it was unacceptable that being gay is still a firable offense in many places.

Obama signed an executive anti-discrimination order covering federal contractors. The order added sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of protections covered in 1965 legislation signed by President Lyndon Johnson, prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating based on race, religion, gender or nationality in hiring.

Additionally, Obama amended an order signed by President Richard Nixon in 1969 to prevent discrimination against federal workers based on race, religion, gender, nationality, age or disability, by adding gender identity to the list.

Before signing the amendments, Obama said that 18 states and more than 200 local governments already ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, as well as a majority of Fortune 500 companies.

Can My Employer Fire Me Because I Am Transgender?

Before these orders were signed, Californian law already prohibited discrimination against transsexuals, transvestites and “persons with traits not stereotypically associated with their gender.” These traits may include personality, clothing, hairstyle, speech, mannerisms and demeanor, and secondary sex characteristics such as vocal pitch, facial hair and body size or shape.

These laws protect transgender individuals, as well as men who are “perceived” as being too “feminine” and women who are “perceived” as being too “masculine.”

Contact our Los Angeles employment lawyers today if you are experiencing discrimination at work due to your gender identity. Call us today to discuss your options.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment attorneys