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Employer obligations in gender transitioning

California is one of several states in which laws have been established to protect transgender employees. In some cases nationwide, gender discrimination laws have been interpreted to include people who have gender dysphoria. Furthermore, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also protects people from discrimination based on gender transition as well as sex discrimination. However, the federal government does not believe this is the case. It also may be possible for a person with gender dysphoria to pursue a disability claim under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

California has a number of specific regulations for employers regarding issues such as bathroom access and pronoun usage. However, there also are steps that companies can take to establish policies regarding this topic even if it does not apply to current employees. Doing so helps ensure that an employer does not have to scramble to put a plan in because an issue has arisen.

Workplace policies protecting gender transitioning employees should be given the same weight as other regulations. Employers need to respect the degree of privacy that a transitioning person desires, work with the individual on a transition plan and develop and monitor any training on gender transitioning the other workers may require. Employers should also be prepared to deal with recordkeeping issues, such as name changes. A point person can help with coordination.

People who feel they have experienced any type of workplace discrimination might want to speak to an attorney. While many workplaces have procedures in place for reporting discrimination or harassment, this process is not always satisfactory. A lawyer might be able to explain to someone employee rights and how he or she should document the discrimination and the reporting process. If his or her employer does not adequately investigate and address the issue, the victim might want to explore filing a lawsuit.

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