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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Dept. of Labor Issues Guidelines on Treatment of Trans Workers

July 29, 2013

The US Department of Labor recently published guidance for its employees on ensuring nondiscrimination in the workplace at the Department, which employs more than 17,000 people across the country. The document builds on guidance issued to all federal agencies by the Office of Personnel Management in 2011, and the Department’s addition at that time of language in its Equal Employment Opportunity policy clarifying that gender identity is a protected form of sex discrimination.

The new guidance provides further explanation of these protections and policies and how to ensure equal treatment in the workplace Managers and employees are instructed to use preferred names and pronouns and respect the privacy of transgender people. Managers are advised to support employees in making gender transitions, and the guidance specifically states: “Dress codes must not be used to prevent a transgender employee from living full-time in the role consistent with his or her gender identity.”

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