New Rule Codifies Sex Discrimination Protection for Trans Federal Workers

July 25, 2014

Today, the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM) published new regulations that protect transgender federal workers under federal sex discrimination laws. Coming on the heels of an executive order signed by President Obama that made protections for transgender federal workers explicit across the government, the OPM rules makes clear that trans federal workers not only have legal protection but are also entitled to all the same rights and procedures as other workers complaining of sex discrimination. Specifically, the rule states throughout that federal workers are protected from bias based on “sex (including pregnancy and gender identity).”

Though specifically focused on the federal workforce, the rules are another indication of the increasingly solid legal consensus that all banning sex discrimination necessarily ban anti-trans bias. The Department of Education recently issued similar guidance under the federal Title IX law, and the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Labor have both announced in recent months that they intend to take a similar approach in forthcoming rules or guidance on job and health care discrimination.

NCTE and other advocates are pressing all of these agencies to provide more detailed guidance on how sex discrimination protect trans people in common situations in schools, workplaces and health care settings.​

Learn more about the workplace rights of federal workers here.


US Dept. of Agriculture Updates Nondiscrimination Regulations

July 25, 2014

Last week, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released an updated version of the nondiscrimination regulations that guide their programs and activities. There were three important changes made to the existing regulations that include: an agency requirement to collect inform on race, ethnicity, and gender for all of its applicants and participants of programs, the establishment of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) services, and the establishment of explicit protection on the basis of political beliefs and gender identity.

NCTE welcomes the explicit nondiscrimination protection on the basis of gender identity USDA operated programs and activities. This added protection sets a clear standards for USDA offices and programs in every state in the nation, and gives customers who believe that they have been discriminated against due to their gender identity a basis upon which to file an administrative complaint. Due to continuing, widespread bias and discrimination, transgender people today face disproportionate levels of poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and victimization. According to the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, nearly one-third of transgender people report having experienced discrimination in a government office or program on at least one occasion. At present, many of the states with large rural communities served by USDA programs are the same states in which there is no explicit statewide nondiscrimination protection, and in which it is most difficult for transgender people to update state-issued identification.

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NCTE welcomes Philadelphia settlement with trans worker, lauds feds for supporting case

May 1, 2014

The National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) welcomes the news that the City of Philadelphia has finally settled a federal anti-bias lawsuit brought by city library worker Bobbie Burnett. Ms. Burnett was subjected to years of workplace harassment and other discrimination after she transitioned on the job in 2002. Managers allegedly restricted her use of women’s restrooms on the job, gave her undesirable job assignments, limited her contact with the public, and disciplined her for frivolous reasons.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief in federal district court supporting Ms. Burnett’s case and arguing that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on transgender status or gender transition. This filing is the latest signal that Federal Justice officials are taking the same position as the Departments of Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services, and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: that federal sex discrimination laws protect transgender people.

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NCTE Applauds Dept. of Agriculture for New Trans Nondiscrimination Rule

January 29, 2014

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has proposed a new rule that will extend protection from discrimination, in programs and activities conducted by the Department, on the basis of gender identity and political affiliation. Last revised in 1999 to add sexual orientation, this amendment to the USDA’s non-discrimination regulations will protect transgender and gender nonconforming people seeking loans and assistance in agriculture and rural communities.

NCTE is proud to be joining hands with a number of other LGBT and human rights organizations, in applauding the USDA for their thoughtful steps towards transgender inclusion. The current proposal will extend protections to programs and activities that the USDA directly administers in thousands of communities throughout the country. NCTE is joining many others in urging the United States Department of Agriculture to take the next step and include protections for LGBT people across all the programs they finance. This would mean explicitly banning anti-LGBT discrimination in the food stamp program and many other federal nutrition programs that collectively serve millions of people.

The USDA is setting a great example of the actions that can and should be adopted all across the United States government. These are actions that protect LGBT people wherever federal funds are being used. For example, NCTE is also imploring the Department of Health and Human Services to add these protections in hospitals and other federally funded health facilities.

Here is our official comment to the USDA here.


NCTE Applauds Reconfirmation of EEOC Commissioner Chai Feldblum

December 12, 2013

The National Center for Transgender Equality congratulates Commissioner Chai Feldblum on her confirmation for a second term to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and we strongly commend President Obama for this selection. Commissioner Feldblum has been an exemplary public servant her whole career and a civil rights hero. Her work and her thinking have been essential to decades of equal employment advances in the U.S.

According to NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling, “I couldn’t be more pleased that remarkable public servants like Chai Feldblum continue to be appointed to positions that matter so much to transgender working people.”

NCTE wishes Commissioner Feldblum continued success on the EEOC.


NCTE Joins Bipartisan Effort to Pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act

July 31, 2013

Coalition of diverse groups representing millions of Americans pushing for Senate vote following historic committee markup

Today the bipartisan campaign Americans for Workplace Opportunity announced it had formed in order to take advantage of a historic opportunity to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act 19 years after its first introduction – a bill to ban workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The group plans to spend more than $2 million on the effort and has hired Matt McTighe, a veteran strategist who most recently served as Marriage Project Director for Gill Action after winning the campaign to bring marriage equality to Maine, to serve as the campaign manager. A majority of states lack laws protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people from workplace bias and there is no federal law explicitly barring employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

“No one should be fired for who they are or who they love, and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a bipartisan, common-sense way to put those values into federal law,” said McTighe. “Our campaign will mobilize the supermajority of diverse Americans who believe in workplace fairness and push Congress to act on ENDA this year.”

The steering committee of Americans for Workplace Opportunity is a diverse and bipartisan group of organizations composed of: American Civil Liberties Union, American Unity Fund, Human Rights Campaign, Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay & Lesbian Task Force, and the Service Employees International Union. Dozens of other organizations that support ENDA will also be involved in the coalition.

National Center for Transgender Equality Executive Director Mara Keisling said: “A job is more than just a job. Having a job means access to health care and ensuring the security of our families. Today, too many trans people are denied that opportunity because of who they are. As Congress debates a bill that most Americans already believe is law, transgender and LGB Americans continue to be denied jobs, promotions and fair wages. Right now, Senators are the only ones who can take action to stop that. The U.S. Senate must act now to make it possible for all Americans to contribute to our economy and our country.”

This national campaign depends on a strong grassroots base to ensure its success, especially as we enter the August Congressional recess. Learn about how to push ENDA forward while your member of Congress is at home at our August Recess Action Center.

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13 in 2013: Victory in Delaware

June 19, 2013

Today transgender people in Delaware celebrate the passage of a statewide Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Bill. Governor Markell pledged to sign the bill within an hour of passage, making Delaware the seventeenth state to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity alongside California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

NCTE pitched in on efforts to pass the Gender Identity Nondiscrimination Bill through training and support to Equality Delaware. Executive Director Mara Keisling praised key players: “Equality Delaware and Governor Markell have put in a lot of hard work to get this bill through. Delaware showed up big for transgender rights today.”

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‘A Broken Bargain’ Report on Workplace Discrimination Released by Leading LGBT Organizations

June 4, 2013

broken-bargain-infographic-transgender (1)The National Center for Transgender Equality joins a group of national LGBT equality and labor organizations to release a groundbreaking report, Broken Bargain: Discrimination, Fewer Benefits and More Taxes for LGBT Workers. The new report is the most up to date publication on the LGBT workforce revealing:

  • Approximately 5.4 million LGBT workers live in 93% of all U.S. counties.
  • Thirty-seven percent of LGBT adults have a child, making family benefits a necessity.
  • LGBT people are at higher risk of poverty than non-LGBT people. Fifteen percent of transgender people have a household income under $10,000, compared to 4% of the population as a whole. Same-sex couples raising children are more than twice as likely to have household incomes near the poverty line compared to different-sex parents (21% vs. 9%).
  • LGBT workers are slightly more racially/ethnically diverse than the U.S. population as a whole.

NCTE Executive Director Mara Keisling noted that transgender workers face a unique set of workplace challenges that may lead to the disproportionately high rate of unemployment. “The demand for transgender-inclusive nondiscrimination laws is as much a business case as it is a moral case. Employers struggle to keep great employees, and trans employees are twice as likely as the general public to hold advanced degrees, yet have twice the rate of unemployment,” Keisling said. “Instituting laws and policies that protect highly qualified transgender workers is good for everyone–employers and employees.”

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