Many people identify with a gender other than the one a doctor assigned them at birth. Although there are presently no protections under federal law to protect transgender individuals against harassment at work, many states have created their own laws to provide them with safe working environments.
California is one such state that has passed its own laws to protect transgender people in the workplace. These individuals should not have to tolerate harassment of any kind, and they should seek legal counsel if a company’s HR department is unable to resolve the issue in-house.
Ways employers discriminate against transgender men and women
Employers cannot retaliate against anyone who identifies as transgender. That would include refusing to hire a qualified transgender person during the hiring process in lieu of someone who identifies as cisgender. Firing and refusing to promote a qualified individual on the basis of her or his gender identity is also against state law.
Ways coworkers can discriminate
Fortunately, many employers, particularly in California, accept people in the transgender community. However, companies can be large, and there may be coworkers who actively seek to harass and discriminate against these people. One of the most common forms of harassment involves teasing or making jokes at the expense of someone’s gender identity. This would also include refusing to use the person’s desired name and pronouns.
Workplaces should also allow transgender individuals to dress in a manner they are comfortable with. A company can certainly enforce its own dress code that everyone needs to abide by, but someone assigned as a male at birth who is transitioning to a woman may want to wear a dress at work, and that is acceptable. Additionally, employers should allow transgender individuals to use the bathroom of their choosing, and coworkers should not prevent people from using whichever bathroom they are most comfortable with. It is for this reason that many workplaces rely on unisex bathrooms that anyone can utilize.