Transgender workplace rights for bathroom use.
The Obama administration in 2016 declares that Title VII protects gender identity and extends anti-discrimination to transgender people.
Legal Protections for Transgender Employees in New York
Lawmakers in New York City recognize that “gender-based discrimination often leads to pariah status including the loss of a job, the loss of an apartment, and the refusal of service in public accommodations such as restaurants or stores.” A 1997 study of over five hundred trans people showed that 46-57% had experienced one or more acts of employment discrimination. There are legal solutions for transgender individuals who are victims of discrimination.
FEDERAL LAW MAY PROTECT YOU: TITLE VII
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination “because of . . . sex.” At first this was interpreted not to protect transgender people. However, in 1989, the Supreme Court held that Title VII protects employees from being discriminated against for failing to meet gender stereotypes. In this case, a woman was denied a promotion and told that to improve her chances next time, she should “walk more femininely, talk more femininely, dress more femininely, wear make-up, have her hair styled, and wear jewelry.” The Supreme Court held that Title VII prohibits employers from penalizing employees for failing to be masculine or feminine enough. This reasoning applies to protect transgender individuals. Courts are now more likely to protect gender non-conforming people. A federal court recently said that a trans woman firefighter who transitioned on the job could not be pushed out of the department because she was expressing her female gender identity. The court said that “sex stereotyping based on a person’s gender non-conforming behavior is impermissible discrimination, irrespective of the cause of that behavior.” The Supreme Court has not clearly said whether transgender people are protected under Title VII. This is still a changing area of law and there are no guarantees.
NEW YORK STATE LAW
New York State has a law like Title VII that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in employment. Courts have said that this law protects transgender people. New York state law also protects against disability discrimination. Gender identity disorder is one such protected disability.
LOCAL LAW PROTECTS YOU
New York City also has a human rights ordinance. This law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender. The statute makes clear that discrimination against transgender people is against the law. Compliance Guidelines issued by the Commission on Human Rights makes clear that it can be discrimination for an employer to force a transgender person to use a bathroom or other sex-segregated facility that does not match their gender identity. There are also local ordinances protecting transgender individuals from discrimination on the basis of gender identity or expression in Albany, Buffalo, Ithaca, Rochester, Suffolk County, and Tompkins County..