Our Legal and Policy Work
Discrimination is a major contributor to the tremendously high rates of unemployment and underemployment faced by transgender and gender nonconforming people. Transgender Law Center supports working people in their efforts to get and stay employed no matter how they express their gender. By helping people who face discrimination on the job and through partnerships that help people find jobs, we are advocating for better legal protections for workers who don’t fit into narrow gender stereotypes.
Transgender Law Center combats workplace discrimination by providing information about the law, as well as about how to file a discrimination complaint with state, federal, and local agencies. We work to improve local, state, and federal policies affecting transgender people at work. We also provide “know your rights” trainings to transgender employees and job-seekers. We educate employers about their legal obligations to create workplaces free from discrimination and harassment. When possible, we also represent transgender employees who have been discriminated against at work or while applying for a job.
Transgender Law Center is also proud to be a partner in the Transgender Economic Empowerment Initiative (TEEI), a collaboration between Transgender Law Center and the San Francisco LGBT Center, TEEI is the nation’s first coordinated program to transform the economic health of transgender communities by turning around the high rates of unemployment and creating stability for transgender people and their families. TEEI links employees with employers, provides support and skills building for job seekers and newly placed employees, and supports employers to create truly trans-inclusive workplaces. Find out more at www.teeisf.org.
Lusardi v. Department of the Army, 2015
In a landmark ruling issued on April 1, 2015, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that some of the most common forms of harassment faced by transgender employees constitute unlawful discrimination under Title VII, the federal sex discrimination law. The decision found that the Department of the Army discriminated against Tamara Lusardi, a transgender employee who transitioned from male to female on the job, by barring her from using the same restroom as all other female employees, and by her supervisors’ continued intentional use of male names and pronouns in referring to Ms. Lusardi after her transition. Transgender Law Center represented Ms. Lusardi with the pro bono assistance of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein.
Department of Fair Employment and Housing vs. American Pacific Corporation, 2014
In a case of first impression, Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Brown held that California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) prohibits employers from requiring transgender workers to use restrooms and locker rooms based on their assigned birth sex.
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Groundbreaking case establishes employers cannot discriminate against transgender people
Macy v. Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, Tobacco, and Explosives, 2012
On April 20, 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a landmark decision holding for the first time that discrimination against transgender employees is covered by the federal sex discrimination law, Title VII. This ruling was issued in the case of Macy v. Holder, brought to the EEOC by Transgender Law Center on behalf of our client Mia Macy.
Ashley Yang v. Transportation Security Administration, 2010
In July 2010, Ashley Yang was fired from her job as an officer for the Transportation Security Administration for being a woman. Her termination followed two years of harassment, discrimination, and managers forcing her to pretend to be a man to keep her job. On the anniversary of her termination, Ms. Yang and the Transgender Law Center completed a settlement against the TSA, representing a major step forward for the treatment of transgender people in the workplace.
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Policy & Advocacy
Transgender Law Center is at the forefront of changing laws, policies and attitudes affecting transgender people at work.
On the federal level, we have worked on passage of the Equality Act, federal legislation that would protect LGBT people from discrimination in many sectors of life, including employment, education, public accommodations, and housing. You can read more about the Equality Act here.
In California, we helped pass the Gender Nondiscrimination Act of 2003 (AB 196), which ensured that transgender and gender nonconforming people in California have legal protection from employment discrimination. In 2011, we passed the Gender Nondiscrimination Act, which further clarified that we are all protected from workplace discrimination based on our gender identity and expression. You can read more about California’s Gender Nondiscrimination Act here.
In the coming years, we are working to advance protective laws and policies to make sure that transgender people can work as our full, authentic selves. This means being able to express our genders freely, having equal access to restrooms, having access to equal workplace benefits, including health care benefits and being free from harassment.
There are many ways to get involved in our work combating employment discrimination. Share your story with us so we can use it in our advocacy by emailing us.
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