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Enduring workplace discrimination

Texas workers and job-seekers should be aware that federal employment laws do not provide protection for all segments of society. This includes men and women who identify as transgender.

Federal statutes, and those of various states, provide no employment discrimination protection for transgender people. One example of this is a case in which a transgender woman was interviewed for a telemarking job in the state of Florida and was offered a position. Once it was established that she was transgender, the job offer taken back. This is technically legal under federal law and in Florida, which has no workplace anti-discrimination laws for transgender people.

According to a representative of the Trans and Gender-Nonconforming Justice Project, workplace persecution and discrimination happens to a majority of transgender people. A 2011 survey sponsored partly by the National LGBTQ Task Force reported 90 percent of the transgender people sampled stated it was necessary to conceal their identities and that they had experienced work-related harassment. Another survey conducted in 2014 showed that transgender people were unemployed at a rate of 14 percent. The unemployment rate is even higher for black transgender men and women at 28 percent.

Pursuing a transgender discrimination claim can be very difficult under local, state or federal employment law. One of many obstacles is that many transgender people are hesitant to engage the authorities. There is a fear of negative contact with law enforcement and a fear in some cases of being deported. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covers gender identity discrimination. Earlier in 2016, the agency announced that it had settled two separate lawsuits with companies that had engaged in this behavior. As a result, there may be avenues that victims of this type of workplace discrimination may have and that an employment law attorney might explain.

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Houston, TX 77002

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