Defining Gender Identity Discrimination
Gender identity discrimination occurs when someone treats you differently or unfairly because of your gender identity. Examples of workplace gender identity discrimination can include:
- Losing your job when your employer discovers your plans to undergo a sex reassignment operation
- Facing harassment, teasing or worse because your employer or co-workers discover that you cross-dress outside of work
- Being demoted, reassigned or terminated based on failure to conform to a company dress code that does not accommodate transgender individuals
- Being denied equal accommodation in hotels, medical facilities, bathroom facilities, restaurants, stores or educational institutions
Although federal and many state laws provide sanctions against discrimination “because of sex,” only eight states — Minnesota, Rhode Island, New Mexico, California, Illinois, Maine, Washington and Hawaii — and the District of Columbia have provisions specifically protecting against gender identity discrimination. In other jurisdictions, courts diverge in deciding whether to include gender identity discrimination as a variant of sexual harassment.
For transgender or intersex people working in New York City, the City’s Human Rights Law explicitly prohibits discrimination based on gender identity. The City prohibits discrimination in employment, public accommodations, housing and lending institutions. The law also contains provisions against discriminatory harassment or violence and retaliation.
If you lose your job due to gender discrimination in New York City, the law provides for compensatory damages, meaning back pay, front pay, and damages to compensate for any physical pain and stress resulting from mental anguish. Additionally, depending on the egregiousness of your employer’s discriminatory behavior, you may qualify for punitive damages.
In any case, if your employer has discriminated against you or someone in your office in a way that has affected and upset you, you should consult with a skilled NYC employment discrimination lawyer right away to protect your right to compensation and to ensure that your employer does not continue discriminating against you or others like you.