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New laws protect transgender workers

Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964 a variety of laws have been enacted and amended with the goal of treating all humans fairly and with the respect they deserve no matter who they are. This means allowing each person the same opportunities regardless of factors such as age, race, religion, and gender. Federal laws still fall short in many ways when it comes to the LGBT community, however when it comes to workers in New York City the laws that protect and advocate for these citizens are more progressive.

The New York City Human Rights Law added protections for transgender persons in 2002, but in December of 2015 the New York City Commission of Human Rights defined several guidelines that protect against transgender discrimination.

Revising transgender guidelines

Some of the guidelines are in line with what many people would expect. Employers cannot make hiring, firing and promotion decisions based on a person's gender or their status as a transgender person. In the context of employment, it is considered discriminatory to force employees to conform to a specific stereotypes based on gender. For example, men should not be prohibited from wearing jewelry or makeup. Dress codes should either be gender neutral or if traditionally masculine and feminine, the employee should be able to pick the style that they are most comfortable with.

A person's status as a transgender individual should not disqualify them from receiving necessary accommodations for doing their job or simply getting through the day. Employers should not refuse medical leave or coverage based on treatments that are related to a person's status as transgender. This means procedures such as hormone therapy, vocal coaching, or surgery should all be supported by the transgender person's workplace. Employee benefits packages should include coverage for these treatments.

Every day treatment in the workplace

The use of single sex facilities is another thing that should not be cause for discrimination, and each person should be able to use the dedicated restroom in which they feel most comfortable. The latest provisions in transgender policy allows for the employers and coworkers of a transgender employee to ask what pronoun they prefer when they are being referred to in order to honor the way in which they identify themselves. As always, it also prohibits any harassment or other mistreatment of an employee based on their gender or status as a transgender person.

If you are an employee whose rights have been violated at work, or an employer wondering how to update your workplace policies so they are in-line with these new laws, contact an employment law firm for help.

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