EEOC Settles First Transgender Discrimination Suit

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is taking a stance to protect transgender workers from employment discrimination.  Though there is currently no federal statute expressly prohibiting this type of discrimination, the EEOC has chosen to pursue these matters under the sex discrimination clause of Title VII. One recently decided case involved a transgender employee working for a healthcare organization.

Details of the Case

According to the EEOC, the respondents terminated the employment of a worker because

  • She identified herself as transgender;
  • She was in the process of transitioning from a male to a female; and/or
  • Her gender identification did not agree with the employer’s preferences.

The respondents entered into a consent decree with the EEOC and the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida approved it. The terms of the settlement included:

  • $150,000 compensation to the employee;
  • A neutral letter of reference for the employee;
  • Employer is required to create discrimination and harassment policies, prohibiting the termination of employment based on an employee’s status as a transgender;
  • Employer must provide the EEOC with reports certifying continued compliance with the settlement agreement; and
  • Employer is subjected to two years of EEOC monitoring, which includes workplace inspections.

The stance taken in this case suggests that the Commission will continue to fight for the employment rights of transgender workers.

If you have questions about protections for transgender workers, contact our office immediately to speak with an experienced attorney..