For much of modern history, transgender people have been largely invisible. Many of them have felt the need to hide their identity in order to avoid judgment by family members, exclusion from social circles or personal risk.
Transgender people also generally face a much higher rate of interpersonal violence than others. Additionally, they face an increased risk for harassment and its treatment in the workplace. Now that many trans people are willing to be more open with their identities, they may face difficulties on the job.
Transgender workers do have rights, but it can be very difficult for someone in a marginalized position to stand up and advocate for themselves.
Statistics show that as many as half of trans workers deal with abuse
Transgender workers can face a broad range of abuse on the job, ranging from being the punchline of all of their co-workers’ crass jokes to getting targeted unfairly by management for uniform or dress code violations often made by many of the other staff members as well. Research has shown that between 20% and 57% of trans workers report experiencing discrimination or abuse on the job.
Co-workers, bosses, clients and even customers in a retail setting could make work life miserable for trans workers. If the company won’t take steps to protect that worker from abuse, they could be liable for encouraging workplace discrimination or harassment.
Many times, that discrimination and abuse that a transgender worker faces on the job could constitute sexual harassment, as their identity and preferences may play a role in the abuse that they face. Other people may hypersexualize their words or behavior and could make a trans worker feel singled out or belittled with their constant jokes and remarks. Reporting such behavior to management and recording any response you receive can help you prove inaction on the part of the company later if needed.