Avoid Discrimination Issues With Transgender Employees

Avoid Discrimination Issues With Transgender Employees Image: U.S. Department of Transportation

As Laverne Cox from “Orange Is the New Black” makes headlines for being the first openly transgender woman to be nominated for an Emmy in an acting category, a corporation in California is being sued for gender identity and expression discrimination, according to Stefanie Vaudreuil in a recent blog post.

The American Pacific Corp. hired a transgender applicant who presented as male, but when it found out he was biologically female and hadn’t undergone sex reassignment surgery, the company asked him to delay his start date until he had done so, explains Vaudreuil. The company said it was worried about him using male changing rooms. But the applicant protested and said it hadn’t been a problem in his past jobs. AMPAC held its ground and wouldn’t let him use the male facilities. The case is being litigated.

To avoid costly litigation and harmful public relations, Vaudreuil suggests implementing the following guidelines:

  • Address the employee by the gender with which he or she identifies.
  • Allow him or her to use the restroom that corresponds to his or her gender identity—and it’s good practice to have a unisex restroom.
  • While reasonable dress-code policies are allowed, employees have a right to dress in conformance with their gender identity.
  • Implement training to deal with how other employees relate to a transgender coworker.
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