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New Jersey Gender Identity Discrimination and Transgender Workers

This spring there are multiple events that may hold substantial significance to trans people. As reported, March 31 marked the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which represented a day to highlight the contributions of trans people, while also putting a spotlight on the challenges they still face. Also, this June will mark the one-year anniversary of the important U.S. Supreme Court case that declared gender identity discrimination and sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace to be violations of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act.

So, what does gender identity discrimination in the workplace look like? It actually can take many forms. The most obvious, of course, occurs when an employer refuses to hire you because you are trans, or when an employer fires you, demotes you, reduces your hours, or otherwise punishes you on the job once your employer becomes aware you are trans or are transitioning.

It also can take the form of an employer who refuses to accommodate your gender identity. This can include refusing to allow you to use the restroom facility that conforms to your gender identity, not updating your employment forms to indicate your gender identity, or a supervisor’s insistence on “deadnaming” you. (This is the act of addressing a trans person by the name that person had before transitioning.)

As we noted above, last year’s Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County made workplace gender identity discrimination a violation of federal law under Title VII. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination has barred gender identity and expression discrimination since 2007.

Your Employer’s Belief, Not Your Actual Gender Identity, is the Key

There are a few legal details that are very useful to know about gender identity discrimination cases. For one thing, the central thing to prove is what your employer believed, not what your actual gender identity is. Even if you are not trans, if your employer thought you were trans and took adverse employment action against you because of it, then you still could have a winning case of gender identity discrimination.

If you took action based on the gender identity discrimination you suffered, and your employer punished you for it, then you may have another winning claim: retaliation.

If you bring a retaliation claim along with a gender identity discrimination claim, be aware that you do not have to win the underlying gender identity discrimination claim to be entitled to a judgment in your favor on the retaliation claim. It is possible that the court could find that your evidence fell short of the legal standard required for gender identity discrimination but that your proof was enough to show that your employer improperly took adverse action against you in retaliation for your pursuit of your rights under the Law Against Discrimination.

In the wake of both cultural changes and legal changes, trans people have greater visibility and more legal options for combating gender identity discrimination than ever before. Count on the knowledgeable New Jersey gender identity discrimination attorneys at Phillips & Associates to be your trusted partner when you need to use the legal system to protect your rights. Contact us online or at (609) 436-9087 today to set up a free and confidential consultation.

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