While President Trump recently sent a tweet declaring his intent to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, transgender federal employees remain protected from any discrimination with respect to the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of their federal employment on the basis of gender identity.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to ensure that federal employees can perform their jobs free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, and sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation). The following represents some of the EEOC’s important holdings with respect to the rights of transgender federal employees in the federal government workplace:
- In Macy v. Dep’t of Justice, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821 (Apr. 12, 2012), the EEOC held that discrimination based on transgender status is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII, settling a long-standing dispute that left members of the LGBT community without Title VII protections.
- In Lusardi v. Dep’t of the Army, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133395 (Mar. 27, 2015), the EEOC held that:
– A federal employee’s access to and/or opportunity to enjoy the compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of their employment cannot be conditioned on undergoing or providing proof of surgery or other medical procedure.
– Intentional reference to a transgender employee by pronouns not associated with the gender they identify with can constitute hostile work environment harassment.
– Denying an employee equal access to bathroom facilities corresponding to the employee’s gender identity constitutes a harm or loss with respect to the terms and conditions of the employee’s employment on the basis of sex.
- In Darin B. v. OPM, EEOC Appeal No. 0120161068 (Mar. 6, 2017), the EEOC held that a transgender federal employee stated a viable EEO claim by alleging that the agency administering the insurance benefits of the Federal Employee Health Benefit program violated Title VII by allowing an insurance carrier to deny pre-authorization for health insurance benefits for gender reassignment surgery whereas pre-authorization was granted for other types of surgeries.
If you believe that your federal employer is targeting you based upon your gender identity, or your sexual orientation, or any other protected class, you should consult with an experienced federal employee attorney in DC about your rights and remedy options.
Thanks to The Federal Practice Group for their insight into the rights of transgender employees.