Many transgender people in California have faced discrimination in a variety of settings, including in their workplaces. While other groups have long enjoyed protected statuses under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, transgender workers across the nation have suffered from discrimination without much legal recourse.
Ninety percent of transgender people reported that they had experienced workplace discrimination in a 2011 survey. In a survey conducted in 2014, trans people had an unemployment rate of 14 percent while black transgender people had an unemployment rate of 28 percent. In the 2011 study, one out of every three workers who were either black, latino or latina and transgender lived in extreme poverty, making less than $10,000 per year.
Under California law, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against people based on their gender identities, genetic information or gender expressions. Unfortunately, this law has not prevented employers from discriminating against transgender people. Compounding the problem is that many trans people are concerned about the possibility of deportation or are living in poverty conditions, making it difficult for them to come forward and press claims for discrimination.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has taken the position that gender identity is implicitly covered by Title VII, although courts are not bound by its stance. However, the EEOC has settled at least two lawsuits that it brought earlier in 2016 that accused companies of gender identity discrimination. People who have been subjected to this type of behavior, whether during the application process or while employed, may want to meet with an attorney to learn what recourse they may have.