Although transgender individuals are making a great deal of progress in today’s society and in asserting the civil rights they clearly deserve, unfortunately that progress has not always translated into the workplace. Politically, there obstacles as well. The White House recently announced a policy banning transgender people from serving in the military. Many consider the military to be the largest known single employer of transgender individuals in the U.S., with over 15,000 as employees.

Many experts say that by removing military service as a career path for transgender individuals only exacerbates the problem. They claim that it makes discrimination normal, and creates a hostile climate for transgender people in other workplaces.

The unemployment rate for transgender people is about three times the national average. For transgender people of color, it is even higher. A large-scale survey of transgender people in the workplace was recently undertaken, and about 30 percent of those surveyed had been denied a promotion, fired, mistreated in the workplace because of their gender identity, or had been verbally harassed or physically or sexually assaulted at work.

There are no federal laws currently in place that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of gender identity. However, California has state laws which prohibit gender identity discrimination in the workplace, which offer some of the strongest protections for transgender people in the U.S. workforce. Even with the laws in place, transgender workers still face significant differences in the workplace, because many employers and coworkers choose to ignore state laws.

Employees who are transgender in California should understand the protections California laws offer to workers, and how those laws protect transgender individuals from unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace. The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits gender identity discrimination or harassment. Employees also have the right to appear as and dress consistently with their gender identity in the workplace.

Gender identity discrimination involves treating people unfairly or differently, or taking negative employment actions against an individual because of his or her gender identity. Some common examples of gender identity discrimination at work include forcing you to use a bathroom that does not conform to your gender identity, being forced to adhere to grooming rules that apply to the other gender, firing you for having sex reassignment surgery, or being demoted because of your gender identity.

If you believe you have been the victim of gender identity discrimination, you should document any instances when unlawful behaviors occurred at work. You should include the names of coworkers, what was said, and any supporting documentation that can prove your case, including emails, voicemails, and text messages.

It is critical that if you believe you have been the victim of illegal harassment or discrimination at work, you should speak with an attorney. You may be entitled to compensation for lost wages, emotional pain and suffering, lost benefits, and more. In the state of California, there are laws designed for your protection, and it is up to you to exercise your legal rights.

At Liberty Law, Micha Star Liberty believes that no transgender person should be evaluated in the workplace on the basis of his or her gender identity. Instead, they should be evaluated on the basis of the skills and experience they offer to their employees. Call the Oakland-San Francisco employment discrimination attorneys at Liberty Law today if you have been the victim of illegal discrimination or harassment at 510-645-1000. Micha Star Liberty works with clients throughout the Bay Area, including Oakland, San Francisco, Hayward, Tracy, San Jose, Sacramento, Fairfield, Berkeley, and the surrounding areas. Call today to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.

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