Cities and states across the nation have been called on to pass what has become “controversial” gender equality laws. Although many laws seeking to establish protections from discrimination for gay, transgender and other classes have been passed successfully, some have met with strong resistance.
Recently, in Houston, voters shot down an anti-discrimination ordinance, aka the ‘bathroom ordinance’, fearing potential safety risks for women and children sharing facilities with transgender men. In North Carolina, the governor came under attack for signing a controversial bill blocking cities from allowing transgender individuals to use public bathrooms for the sex they identify as and restricting cities from passing nondiscrimination laws more broadly.
Despite the checkerboard passage and rejection of gender equality laws across the nation, employers are subject to specific federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination with regard to gender. The EEOC is the federal agency charged with the authority to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and other related federal laws prohibiting workplace discrimination and will likely see its fair share of cases regarding gender discrimination.
Many companies may be ignorant to their role in preventing gender discrimination in the workplace. They are sometimes unaware that it may be illegal under civil rights laws to enact rules such as prohibiting transgender individuals from using gender-specific restrooms that don’t match their gender identity. Iowa is among a number of states that have specific laws requiring employers to permit their employees to use restrooms appropriate to their gender identity, rather than their assigned gender at birth.
If you have been discriminated against at work because of your gender, sex, age, religion or race, contact the employment Law Offices of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC for help today.
Sources: Cnn Politics, “North Carolina Governor Signs Controversial Transgender Bill”, by Tal Kopan and Eugene Scott, March 24, 2016.; Spokane Journal, “Heeding Workplace Transgender Rules”, by William M. Symmes and Amy M. Mensik, April 7, 2016.