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Gender identity and discrimination

On Behalf of | Jan 20, 2023 | Discrimination

The idea of workplace discrimination within the male-female gender binary is nothing new. Many organizations are now familiar with the important role that this type of diversity plays in society — and in the success of a business.

However, companies still discriminate based on binary ideas of gender. It stands to reason that they also might discriminate against transgender or binary-non-conforming individuals.

Transgender rights in the workplace

There are several types of discrimination and harassment that transgender persons might experience in the workplace. One unfortunate and familiar example is the use of bathroom facilities. The fact is that employers cannot dictate which bathrooms transgender employees use.

Another type of wrongful and passive aggressive behavior is establishing a pattern of referring to people by incorrect gender pronouns or names. An honest mistake once in a while could happen to anyone, but willfully ignoring an employee’s wishes in this matter could constitute illegal harassment.

Finally, the law protects persons who decide to transition during employment. Further, employers’ insurance plans and Medi-Cal must both cover gender-affirming care.

Non-conforming and non-binary rights

Beyond protecting transgender rights, the law could offer protection for employees against workplace discrimination based upon gender identity and gender expression in a broader sense. While these protections certainly could apply to transgender individuals, they could also apply to people with non-binary and non-conforming identities and expressions.

In fact, the law could apply to situations even in which an employer is mistaken about an employee’s identity. In the most basic terms possible, discrimination based upon any real or perceived gender identity is illegal.