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DOJ clarifies important work discrimination distinction

We have previously discussed the fact that American employment law is always evolving. On both a federal level and on a state level, employment law may change rapidly from time to time. As a result, it is important to consult an attorney experienced in employment law if you feel that you are being discriminated against at work or are otherwise being treated unfairly, as you may be unaware of legal developments that could aid you in obtaining justice for the harm you have suffered.

For example, transgender people have not been traditionally protected from employment discrimination specifically at a federal level or by the majority of states. However, a recent development is helping to change that frustrating trend. Late last year, outgoing attorney general Eric Holder clarified that it is the position of the Obama administration that transgender individuals are protected from workplace discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the memo clarifying the administration’s position, the attorney general notes that, “I have determined that the best reading of Title VII’ s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.”

Hopefully, this development will further inspire courts to uphold the workplace rights of individuals who may be subjected to negative treatment due to their gender identity. While this clarification will not eliminate gender identity bias in the American workforce, it will hopefully allow individuals to hold employers accountable for illegal discriminatory acts. If you have any questions about this clarification, please do not hesitate to speak with an attorney experienced in employment law issues.

Source: The Washington Post, “DOJ: Transgender people can’t be discriminated against at work,” Sandhya Somashekhar, Dec. 18, 2014

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