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Treating transgender workers fairly in California

Since 2012, transgender workers have been protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in the view of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. According to guidance published by the Office of Personnel Management and by the EEOC, workers should be called by the name and pronoun of their choosing. For instance, if an anatomical male wishes to be addressed as she or her, the employer would be required to do so.

Furthermore, OSHA has issued guidance as it relates to transgender employees and the use of restroom and locker room facilities. It is a best practice to allow a transitioning employee to use facilities in accordance with how they self-identify. This rule takes effect as soon as the employee notifies his or her employer about the change in gender status even if reassignment surgery has not yet occurred.

Employers throughout the country are advised to consider transgender workers as a protected class and consult with their legal teams whenever necessary. This may help to avoid adverse treatment or unlawful stereotyping or discrimination of a worker based on the fact that he or she may be transgender or thinking about transitioning.

Any worker who believes that he or she has been discriminated against in the workplace may have cause for legal action. An attorney may be able to help a worker determine if he or she has been the victim of workplace discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation or any other protected basis. Workers who believe that they may have been denied employment or terminated due to such discrimination may also wish to take legal action against an employer.

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