Employment

Transgender people face double the rate of unemployment in the United States.

An employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of the person’s gender identity is violating the prohibition on sex discrimination contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, according to an opinion issued on April 20, 2012, by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

The following information has been adapted from MCAD’s FAQ

In the employment context, discrimination begins with an “adverse employment action”: something an employer does that hurts an employee, such as terminating the employee, not selecting the employee for a promotion, giving the employee a poor evaluation, harassing the employee with derogatory remarks or behaviors, or denying the employee’s request for an accommodation of a disability. If you believe the adverse employment action happened to you because of your race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetics, or past involvement in a discrimination complaint, it could be discrimination. If the adverse action happened to various people from all different backgrounds, it may not be discrimination, and other agencies may be able to assist you.

Transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive youth and adults should be addressed and referred to by their names and pronouns corresponding to their gender identity that is asserted at school, work, and/or accessing services.

Transgender, nonbinary, and gender-expansive youth and adults should not be required to obtain a court-ordered name and/or gender change or have a diagnosis from a psychologist or therapist as a prerequisite to being addressed by their name and pronoun corresponding with their gender identity.

How do I know if my employer is covered by state discrimination laws?

If you are a part- or full-time employee at a workplace that employs at least six part- or full-time employees, then your employer is covered. If you have questions about this, you can raise them when you come to file a complaint with MCAD.The name in employment personnel records should match the name on the Social Security card. The records should be changed if a revised Social Security card is received.

MTPC Employer Recommendations:

  • Include “Gender Identity and Expression” as a category in diversity, hiring, and EEO statements
  • Establish Gender Transition Guidelines: Institute protocols for gender transitions that clearly delineate responsibilities and expectations of transitioning employees, their supervisors, colleagues, and other staff.
  • Ensure Privacy — Keep the transgender employee’s status private and confidential, limited to the fewest people necessary.
  • Update Personnel and/or other Records
  • Dress Codes: Transgender employees may dress consistently in accordance with their gender identity.
  • Benefits: Remove Discriminatory Health Insurance Exclusions

Filing a Complaint

Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)

If you believe you have experienced discrimination within the last 300 days, the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination is available to assist you. If you visit one of MCAD offices and meet with an intake worker, they will explain to you what kind of evidence you will need to prove that discrimination occurred. Click here for more information about how to file a complaint with MCAD.

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Ruling on Transgender Employees

The 2012 EEOC ruling protects transgender people under the Title VII sex discrimination law. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled in a 5-0 decision that an employer discriminating against a transgender employee or job applicant because of the person’s gender identity is illegal sex discrimination based on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

National Center for Transgender Equality has released a “Know Your Rights Guide” on this ruling.

Transgender Law Center has also released “Frequently Asked Questions: What the EEOC’s Decision in Macy v. Holder Means for You”

What are the procedures involved in filing a federal EEO complaint?

The first step is to contact the EEO Office at the agency where you work or where you applied for a job and ask to speak with an EEO Counselor. Generally, you must contact the EEO Counselor within 45 days of the day the discrimination occurred.

Federal and state law prohibit Massachusetts employers from discriminating against employees in protected classes, such as race, religion, disability, etc. Massachusetts recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes. Contact us if you or someone you know have experienced discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.

Federal and state law prohibit Massachusetts employers from discriminating against employees in protected classes, such as race, religion, disability, etc. Massachusetts recognizes gender identity and sexual orientation as protected classes. Contact us if you or someone you know have experienced discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.

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