OSHA takes steps to promote the safety and rights of transgender employees

Individuals who identify as being transgendered face many hurdles in both life and the workplace. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, all employees are protected from suffering acts of workplace discrimination, harassment or retaliation because of their sex. While these protections include individuals who are transgendered, some employers continue to fail to take necessary or adequate steps to provide for the basic rights and safety of transgender employees.

The OSHA Act of 1970 requires that employers provide a "safe and healthful workplace for their employees." A recent survey of transgender employees in the U.S. revealed that 55 percent reported being fired or laid off as a direct result of their sex and 22 percent said they were not allowed to use "gender-appropriate restrooms" at work.

In an effort to help educate employers and transgender employees about their legal responsibilities and rights, earlier this month, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced a two-year initiative with the National Center for Transgender Equality. Together the two organizations will work to raise awareness of the health and safety issues facing transgender employees. Additionally, they will help educate employers and ensure they are in compliance with federal anti-discrimination laws.

In recent years, there has been increased awareness about the rights of transgender individuals and employees. However, despite attention around the issue and laws promoting and protecting the rights of transgender employees, many continue to be victims of workplace discrimination and harassment. Individuals in the Los Angeles area who have experienced actions related to discrimination, harassment or retaliation in the workplace would be wise to contact an attorney who handles employment law issues.

Source: OSHA.gov, "OSHA and the National Center for Transgender Equality form alliance to protect safety, health of transgender workers," May 4, 2015

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