In an ideal world, employees would be hired and remain employed with companies based on their performance. Unfortunately, many people are fired from their jobs because of their sexual orientation—including being transgender.
There is no specific federal law banning employers from discriminating against transgender employees. However, many courts interpret transgender discrimination as a form of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
There are, however, 20 states and many cities that have laws protecting transgender employees, including Illinois. We are making progress, but employment discrimination still exists.
President Donald Trump is seeking to implement a ban on transgender people in the military. However, discrimination in the workplace extends much further than that.
Unfairness and discrimination affect 2 million employees in the United States every year. These employees are teased, harassed, denied promotions, forced to stay away from clients and even fired. Many receive negative reactions from employers and co-workers and end up receiving negative performance reviews, even though they had excellent reviews in the past. Transgender people even face discrimination when applying for jobs.
Statistics from the National Center for Transgender Equality show that more than 25 percent of transgender people have lost jobs due to discrimination. Non-white transgenders face even higher rates of discrimination. Discrimination has affected 97 percent of transgender people, with many denied basic requirements such as bathrooms.
Discrimination affects employers as well. Word gets around, and many consumers refuse to buy products from those who discriminate. Also, those looking for a job will overlook companies that deprive employees of their civil rights.
Employees who have faced or seen discrimination will deter others from doing business with offending companies. Thirteen percent would discourage recommending the employer’s services, and 27 percent would not recommend their employer to those looking for a job.
With more and more people coming out as transgender or having a sexual orientation that an employer is uncomfortable with, it’s important that employers understand their rights and responsibilities. It is unfair to treat someone differently based on their sexual orientation, including in an employment environment.
If you were treated badly by an employer or fired solely because you are transgender or gay, contact Goldman & Ehrlich as soon as possible for help. Call us at (312) 332-6733 or complete our online contact form.