The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and U.S. Department of Education became the two most recent federal agencies to release guidance regarding treatment of transgender individuals. The EEOC issued a new fact sheet discussing rights of transgender employees and the U.S. Department of Education issued a letter regarding transgender student rights, both of which are consistent with guidance Vigilant reported on last year from the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Ultimately, all of this guidance requires employers to treat an individual in accordance with their current gender identity rather than the sex they were assigned at birth (including deciding which restroom the individual wants to use).
Tips: As you’ve probably noticed, transgender issues have received a lot of media attention lately, and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, potentially a type of “sex discrimination,” is a developing area of employment law (learn more about recent and related sex discrimination lawsuits here). To avoid having your company become a negative headline, know in advance how to appropriately hire and employ a transgender individual, and ensure that your staff understands the implications of sex discrimination (non-harassment trainings are an excellent way to ensure that all employees are on the same page regarding proper conduct and workplace behaviors). To discuss issues that may be relevant for your workplace, contact your Vigilant employment attorney for more guidance.