Transgender Discrimination and the EEOC

In the news recently has been the issue of the use of bathrooms by individuals that are transgendered. The coverage has been predominantly about schools, and what to do in these instances. For the workplace, it is no different and if found in violation of transgender discrimination, employers could find themselves facing large penalties.

The EEOC has jumped out ahead of this issue, stating that in no uncertain terms companies must provide access to restrooms that correspond with the employee’s gender identity. If a business fails to do so, it could be found in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

In the wake of the North Carolina ruling that blocked local governments from granting civil rights protections to transgendered individuals, the EEOC issued their own statement. In it, they noted that state laws that differ from federal law is not a defense against a violation of Title VII. It was also stated that gender based stereotypes and perceptions must not interfere with an employees ability to work free from discrimination, which includes harassment.

The EEOC makes clear that it is not expected that people will change their personal beliefs about the transgender issue, as is the case in any non-discrimination provisions within a work environment. They are, however, looking to provide a safe and appropriate workplace environment that is free from harassment and or discrimination.

More information regarding this issue and the EEOC’s opinions can be found on this fact sheet.