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How California Protects LGBTQ Employees from Workplace Discrimination

How California Protects LGBTQ Employees from Workplace Discrimination

California is one of just 17 states that forbids gender identity discrimination.

How California Protects LGBTQ Employees from Workplace DiscriminationAcross the nation, the topic of gender identity has been in the news quite a bit, with some states looking to pass laws prevent transgender students and adults from using the restroom of their choice.   Beyond the bathroom issue, there is a question of how transgender and gender nonconforming Americans will be treated at work.  In most states, the law does not protect them from workplace discrimination or harassment.  California is one of just 17 states that specifically prohibits workplace gender identity discrimination.  The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) specifically prohibits employment discrimination and harassment of transgender and gender nonconforming workers, and protects employees’ rights to dress and appear in accordance with their gender identity at work.

Gender identity discrimination can take many forms.  It involves treating employees differently or unfairly, or taking an adverse employment action against an employee because of his or her gender identity or gender expression.  For example, gender identity discrimination may involve a coworker teasing you because of your gender identity or using slurs specifically about your gender identity.  If your boss requires you to dress and groom yourself in a way that does not apply to the gender that you identify with, or to use the restroom of a gender that you do not identify with, that could also be a form of gender identity discrimination.  Under California law, if a workplace has single-occupancy restrooms, they must be available to everyone — regardless of gender identity.  For example, if you identify as male, but your boss requires you to wear a skirt or a dress and use the women’s restroom — but does not make the other male employees do so — then you are being discriminated against on the basis of your gender identity.  Your employer may also take adverse employment actions against you on the basis of your gender identity, such as firing you, demoting you or denying you a promoting due to undergoing a sex reassignment surgery, dressing based on your gender-identity,  or simply due to your gender expression, such as having long hair as a man. Any of these situations could be considered gender identity discrimination, and under California law, could be illegal.  A California employment law attorney can advise you about whether or not you have grounds for a claim against your employer on this basis.

If you have been harassed or discriminated against at work due to your gender identity or expression, an experienced California employment law attorney may be able to help you file a complaint against your employer.  The laws regarding workplace discrimination can be complicated, and require the assistance of a skilled lawyer who understands how to appropriately file a claim and meet the deadlines.  At PLBSH, our employment law attorneys are highly skilled at helping job applicants and employees who have faced all types workplace discrimination, including discrimination based on gender identity, gender discrimination and sexual orientation.  Contact our office today at (800) 435-7542 or info@plbsh.com to schedule a free consultation and learn more about how we can help you.

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