Task Force hails EEOC ruling protecting transgender workers

WASHINGTON, DC, April 24, 2012 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force applauds the opinion by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that transgender people are protected from discrimination by federal law. The EEOC found that an employer who discriminates against an employee or applicant on the basis of the person’s gender identity is violating the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The ruling involves the case of Mia Macy, a transgender woman denied a job by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Macy is represented by the Transgender Law Center. This precedent-setting decision applies to both private and public employees in the United States.

Findings from Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality showed what a severe and life-threatening problem employment discrimination is for transgender people: 26 percent lose their job just because they are transgender, 90 percent experience mistreatment, discrimination or hide who they are to avoid it.

Task Force Executive Director Rea Carey says:
This is a historic victory for transgender people and their families — and it couldn’t come too soon. Our national survey on transgender discrimination found staggering levels of workplace discrimination against transgender Americans. This jeopardizes their ability to have or keep a job, have a roof over their head, and feed and take care of their family.

Mia Macy’s situation is a case in point. She and her family moved from Phoenix to the Bay Area because of a job offer. After the job was taken away, they couldn’t afford to keep up their house payments, and their home was foreclosed on. This has been devastating. This is no way to live, and the EEOC’s ruling will go a long way toward addressing such injustices.

We applaud the EEOC for this opinion and congratulate the Transgender Law Center for its work leading to this victory. Special thanks to Mia for her courage. Transgender people across the nation will now know that they are protected by federal law and have legal recourse if they are denied a job or fired just because of who they are.

However, we still need clear, explicit protections for transgender people in the 34 states that don’t have those laws, as well as on the federal level. We continue to call on Congress to move the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, with a Senate hearing on the bill with no further delay.


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