Are transgender employees protected from workplace discrimination in Pennsylvania?

Throughout the years, we’ve seen many improvements in terms of anti-discrimination laws. However, many transgender employees report facing discrimination in their place of work. Whether employees are purposely misgendered, harassed, or in severe cases, assaulted for their gender identity, it’s vital to understand these workers have rights. Keep reading to learn more about how discrimination can appear in the workplace and how a Pennsylvania employee rights lawyer can help you if you’ve faced bias from an employer or coworker.

What does discrimination for transgender employees look like?

Unfortunately, there is a number of acts that can constitute discrimination in the workplace in regard to transgender employees. However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Committee and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act have rules and regulations that outline what behavior towards transgender workers is unacceptable.

Generally, any behavior that is discriminatory based on a protected characteristic is unacceptable. This includes making hiring or firing decisions, refusing to promote, harassing, disciplining, or failing to properly train employees based on their gender identity.

However, discrimination based on gender identity may look different than other forms of bias. In some instances, an employer may force a worker to conform to gender norms by making them use a restroom they do not identify with or prohibiting them from wearing clothing they associate with the employee’s preferred gender. Also, the constant and persistent use of the wrong gender or using the employee’s “dead name” (the name they used before transitioning, if they have changed their name) does not violate Title VII, the EEOC has determined it does create and contribute to a hostile work environment.

What should an employee do if they face discrimination?

If you’ve faced discrimination in the workplace because of your gender identity, you should not simply accept it for what it is. This is a violation of your rights as an employee.

When you face discrimination, the first thing you should try is resolving the issue with your company. However, this can be challenging, especially if you have been made to feel unsafe or threatened. In some instances, you can hire legal representation to approach the company on your behalf. It’s essential to note that you do not have to approach your employer before filing a suit.

If the discrimination has led to an unsafe work environment, you’re experiencing threats, or you’ve endured physical violence, prioritizing your safety is essential. You should contact an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to discuss the details of your case.

At Friedman Schuman, our dedicated legal team is here to help. When you’re experiencing bias in the workplace, contact us to discuss how we can help. You may be eligible to receive financial compensation and justice for the discrimination you’ve faced as a result of another’s prejudice surrounding gender identity. Reach out today to learn more about how we can assist you.

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