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Executive order addresses transgender discrimination issues

An executive order that was signed last week by President Barack Obama officially made into law an order that bans discrimination against federal employees and contractors who are gay or transgender. The order comes on the heels of a March 16, 2015, hearing held by the United States Commission on Civil rights to discuss workplace discrimination against those who are part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender community.

Although former Olympian Bruce Jenner has turned the spotlight onto issues facing the transgender community, it has not stopped employment discrimination against transgenders. NPR News states that since the year 2013, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has heard some 1,200 employment discrimination claims under Title VII that were filed by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

While some employers have attempted to argue that Title VII does not give protection to those who are transgender, both federal and state courts have disagreed. Instead, they are reiterating that employers who fail to properly handle issues with gender identity and claims may actually open themselves to employee lawsuits.

As part of the tolerance process, employees are advised to be proactive in diversity training and work to ensure that they will have strong personnel policies and awareness of gender identity in the workplace. As an example, employers should see that transgender employees are addressed by their preferred title and name as they undergo the transgender process and allow employees to dress or appear in a way that is consistent with their transgender identity.

Individuals who feel they have been discriminated against due to their transgender identity may find valuable information about their legal rights on our website.

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