Treatment of Transgender Employment Discrimination Claims Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
It’s about damn time. According to a DOJ press release:
Attorney General Holder announced today that the Department of Justice will take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status. Attorney General Holder informed all Department of Justice component heads and United States Attorneys in a memo that the department will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination, reversing a previous Department of Justice position. Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in the employment of an individual “because of such individual’s…sex,” among other protected characteristics.
The Washington Post reported the story, saying:
According to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey, a survey of 6,450 transgender people in the United States, transgender people experience twice the rate of unemployment as other Americans and are much more likely to live in poverty. Advocates attribute those facts in part to the difficulty transgender people face in finding a job.
Direct antidiscrimination legislation addressing the prejudice so many LGBTQ people face would be much better than the DOJ’s reinterpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. But this is a good start. Read a PDF of the related DOJ memo here.