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Transgender job discrimination in Los Angeles County

The Los Angeles County Department of Health has an estimate of the number of people living in our community who identify as transgender individuals. Figures aren't exact, because there is no one definition applied to transgender people. Health officials started off by adding up everyone in the 15- to 64-year-old age group - more than 7.2 million people.

Transgender categories included anyone who identified themselves as transgender, individuals who identified with a gender other than the one they had at birth and people who claimed to have cross-gender identities or behaviors. The result was an average of 14,428 transgender people.

If a National Transgender Discrimination Survey is accurate, many local transgender residents are facing a hard time in the workplace. Researchers reported widespread job discrimination among 6,450 survey participants. Consequently, the jobless rate among the respondents was double the rate of the overall population.

Nearly half - 47 percent of respondents -- stated being transgender prevented them from being hired, getting promotions or keeping a job. More than one in four claimed they were terminated for gender non-conformity. Ninety percent admitted they either tried to hide being transgender at work or experienced job discrimination, harassment or mistreatment.

Many of the surveyed transgender workers took actions to try to tone down discrimination. Fifty-seven percent delayed gender transitions; 71 percent hid transgender identities or transitions. Surprisingly, 78 percent of respondents felt better about their jobs following a gender transition, despite continued on-the-job mistreatment.

California employment laws shield protected classes from gender, sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination. Companies also may be accountable for nurturing hostile work environments. Employers may not retaliate against California workers who file discrimination complaints.

It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to harassers and others who mean harm. An employment attorney will explain your rights and assess your case, so you can make an informed decision about moving forward with a claim.

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