The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has ruled under current law, job bias against workers on the basis of gender identity is the equivalent of sex discrimination. The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces and interprets federal non-discrimination laws. This decision applies to both public and private companies throughout the United States—even in the 34 states where non-discrimination laws that are based on gender do not exist.
This is the result of a case filed by the Transgender Law Center for Mia Macy, a transgender woman who was allegedly denied a job at the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives laboratory in California after she announced she was transitioning from male to female. The decision was unanimous at 5-0 and states in part, “We conclude that intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because the person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination ‘based on … sex,’ and such discrimination therefore violates Title VII.” Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on color, race, religion, sex and national origin. This is the first time the EEOC has decided the rule protects transgender employees.
Macy, a veteran and former police detective was told she would receive a position at the California laboratory. The person hiring her contacted her to begin necessary paperwork. After informing that person she would transition from male to female, Macy received an e-mail stating the job has been cut due to federal budget constraints. Macy later learned someone else got the job.
The EEOC made this decision after the Obama administration was highly criticized by many people in the LGBT community for deciding against issuing an executive order that would require federal contractors to have non-discrimination policies based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This EEOC decision could provide a path to give transgender workers seeking a remedy against discrimination instead of the executive order.
Modern Business Associates is an HR company that focuses on payroll and HR outsourcing. We routinely work with clients on EEOC rulings. As a Professional Payroll and HR outsource organization, our clients rely on us to help them effectively deal with these kinds of topics.
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