NYC Transgender Discrimination Attorney

Employees deserve to feel safe in the workplace. Unfortunately, transgender discrimination in the workplace is far too common. Victims of transgender discrimination have rights under New York City, state, and federal employment laws. Employers cannot adversely treat transgender employees or applicants, and they can’t allow a hostile work environment to develop.

Have you experienced transgender discrimination in the workplace in New York City? You may have the right to pursue a claim against your employer for compensation. The employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP are prepared to fight for you. We’ll carefully evaluate your case and help you understand your legal rights and options.

Examples of Transgender Discrimination in the Workplace

Transgender discrimination occurs when a job applicant or employee receives unfavorable treatment because of that person’s gender identity, gender expression, or transgender status. In New York, treating an employee adversely because of their spouse, partner, friend, or family member’s transgender status is also considered unlawful discrimination. Transgender employees face unique difficulties in the workplace. 

A recent UCLA School of Law’s Williams Institute report found that transgender individuals are twice as likely as cisgender individuals to face unemployment. Cisgender employees earn an average of 32 percent more income per year than transgender employees, even when transgender employees have attended more education—employees who identify as transgender report that it’s harder to get promoted at work. Additionally, transgender employees face many types of illegal discrimination in the workplace. When employers make employment decisions based on stereotypes about an individual’s transgender status, they are violating anti-discrimination laws.

Denying Jobs and Promotions to Transgender Individuals

Transgender job applicants frequently have difficulty being hired because of their transgender status. Suppose a highly qualified applicant with excellent qualifications and experience applies for a job. If a hiring manager asks the applicant if they are transgender and refuses to hire the applicant, the applicant may have a valid claim for unlawful discrimination. 

Similarly, if a transgender employee receives excellent performance reviews from their manager and then informs the manager that they plan to start the gender transition process, employers cannot give them negative reviews, assign them to more unfavorable job duties, or demote them. 

Many transgender employees face discrimination after they decide to undergo sex reassignment surgery while using their employer’s health insurance plan. Managers may retaliate against the employee for costing the company too much money or taking too much time off of work to recover from gender reassignment surgery. 

Employers cannot refuse to place transgender employees in client-facing roles, saying it isn’t a good fit because customers won’t respond well to a transgender employee. They also can’t refuse to consider transgender employees for promotions or partnerships because of their gender identity. Finally, employers cannot say they are laying off employees because of budget cuts and then only lay off employees who are gender-nonconforming or transgender. 

Employers Cannot Implement Policies with Discriminatory Effects.

Employers may try to hide transgender discrimination by claiming transgender employees weren’t targeted by their policies. However, if an employment policy appears neutral on its face but has the result of discrimination against transgender employees, it may be unlawful. 

If you believe your employer is enacting policies that are discriminating against you because of your gender identity, speaking to an attorney is one of the best things you can do. The employment attorneys at Lipsky Lowe LLP have extensive experience holding employers accountable by investigating their policies and actions and finding evidence of unlawful discrimination.

Creating a Hostile Work Environment

Transgender employees can be victims of repeated insults, drawings, emails, messages, and other offensive targeting based on their gender identities. When employers allow a hostile work environment to occur due to harassment based on a person’s sex or gender identity, employees have a right to pursue a claim. Jokes, derogatory remarks, and offensive statements about a person’s gender identity, the failure to use preferred pronouns, and the refusal to allow an employee to use the same restroom can all raise the level of a hostile work environment.

New York City and State Protections for Transgender Employees

New York City and state anti-discrimination laws protect transgender employees better than federal laws. In October 2019, New York expanded its laws to protect non-employees, including independent contractors, vendors, consultants, domestic workers, subcontractors, and more. 

The New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) prohibits gender-based discrimination in public accommodations, housing, and employment. The NYCHRL uses a broad definition of gender discrimination, which includes the “actual or perceived sex, gender identity, and gender expression including a person’s actual or perceived gender-related self-image, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-related characteristic, regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth.” 

The NYCHRL prohibits employers from refusing to promote, hire, or fire a person due to their actual or perceived gender or to set different compensation or employment terms based on gender. The law also requires employers to use the job applicant or employee’s preferred name, pronouns, and titles, regardless of the individual’s assigned sex at work. 

Employers must allow employees to use single-gender facilities, such as locker rooms and restrooms, and to participate in single-gender programs regardless of their sex assigned at birth. Finally, employers cannot retaliate against employees for opposing transgender discrimination or requesting a reasonable accommodation for a disability. 

Federal Protections for Transgender Employees 

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law prohibiting sex-based employment discrimination. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and decisions from multiple federal courts have stated that discrimination due to a job applicant or employee identifying as transgender or gender non-conforming is a form of unlawful sex discrimination. Employers with 15 or more employees are required to comply with Title VII. 

If your employer has violated Title VII, you can file a claim with the EEOC. Civilian employees who work for the federal government enjoy additional protections for sex-based discrimination. If you work for a company with federal government contracts, you’re also protected by Executive Order 13672. 

Call Our New York City Transgender Discrimination Attorneys

Transgender and gender non-conforming employees have extensive rights in New York City. If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because of your gender identity, it’s crucial that you reach out to an attorney as soon as possible. Contact Lipsky Lowe LLP to schedule a complimentary case evaluation with an experienced New York City employment attorney.