NYC Employment, Civil Rights and Criminal Defense Law Blog

Monday, April 30, 2012

EEOC Declares Discrimination Based on Transgender Status Actionable as Sex Discrimination.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled in a case brought by an applicant for federal employment with the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that complaints based on gender identity, sex change or transgender status are actionable forms of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and should be processed as such under the federal EEO regulations. 


The complainant in the case of Macy v. Holder, EEOC Appeal No. 0120120821, alleged that she was not hired after she made her status as a transgender individual known.  The EEOC issued a decision in line with its responsibilities to enforce federal EEO laws, to lead “the Federal government’s efforts to eradicate workplace discrimination,” and to “ensure that uniform standards be implemented defining the nature of employment discrimination”.  The EEOC held unequivocally that “discrimination based on transgender status, also referred to as claims of discrimination based on gender identity, are cognizable under Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibition, and may therefore be processed under Part 1614 of EEOC’s federal sector EEO complaints process.”  The EEOC explained that Title VII’s protections “sweep far broader” than discrimination based only on the basis of biological sex and include discrimination based on “the cultural and social aspects associated with masculinity and femininity.”  The EEOC concluded in no uncertain terms that “intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination ‘based on …sex,’ and such discrimination therefore violates Title VII.”

To read the full EEOC decision click here



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