In a recent study, 2015 report from the Center for American Progress and the Movement Advancement Project, almost 80% of American transgender workers claimed they had experienced discrimination in the workplace or during the employment application process. From general discrimination to harassment to mistreatment, this demographic is facing a substantial challenge on the job.
Expert and author, Lee Schubert, indicated that it is not uncommon for employers or co-workers to present transgender employees with rude and inappropriate questions, comments, etc. Common discriminatory questions/topics that transgenders face include: questions about transition surgery, questions about sexuality, etc Many employers face difficulty when attempting to appropriately refer to their transgender employees, i.e. which pronoun to use – he or she. Some transgender employees do not want to be referred to as either he or she, but prefer they as they may not identify with either male female. Employers can find it confusing – it’s new territory in many cases. But the challenges this causes transgender employees to face are very real. In fact, the recent 2015 report noted above concludes that employment discrimination is a fact of life for trans people and that it comes with serious economic consequences.
In the study, “Paying an Unfair Price: The Financial Penalty for Being Transgender,” it states that up to 47% of trans workers report being denied employment unfairly. 78% report harassment, mistreatment and/or discrimination on the job.
Tips for appropriately interacting and/or managing trans workers are actually the same tips that apply to interactions with all workers in a workplace: demonstrate respect, recognize that there is a difference between personal values and community values of a workplace and act professionally, and be respectful of coworkers’ privacy and confidentiality.
If you have questions or concerns about employment discrimination or transgender employment discrimination specifically, please get in touch with one of the experienced southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.