Whether you just recently transitioned or not, workplaces can be difficult for transgender employees. Embracing your authentic self can be tough if the environment isn’t supportive.
Fortunately, you do have some protections under the law. Here are three things every transgender employee should know:
Dress codes cannot be used as a tool of discrimination
On the whole, people are starting to recognize that gender “norms” are a social construct, and not everybody is comfortable with the notions surrounding what it means to be “feminine” or “masculine.” That doesn’t mean that an employer won’t try to enforce arbitrary dress codes that are unequally burdensome or based on stereotypes. That’s a violation of federal law.
You cannot be denied access to gender-appropriate facilities
While “bathroom bans” continue to be fought about in the courts, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) both say that transgender employees cannot be denied access to bathrooms and locker facilities that correspond with their gender identity.
Deadnaming you can be a form of illegal harassment
People may make mistakes and inadvertently “deadname” you or use the incorrect pronouns if you’ve recently transitioned. A slip-up and a quick correction aren’t harassment. However, if a supervisor or boss routinely deadnames you or uses the wrong pronouns, or lets other employees do so, that may be considered a form of discrimination. You have a right to be called by the name and pronouns you choose.
If you believe that you’ve been the victim of transgender discrimination or harassment in the workplace, fighting back can make the workplace better for everybody. Legal guidance can help you learn more.