June 15, 2015
According to the EEOC’s website (2015), “The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information.” The majority of employers with at least 15 employees are covered by EEOC laws and 20 employees for age discrimination cases. These laws apply to all work situations like benefits, hiring, firing, promotions, training, harassment, and wages. The EEOC has the authority to investigate when employers covered by law present charges of discrimination (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, n.d.). Transgender and Management The American Psychological Association (APA) states that "transgender" is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, behavior or gender expression does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person's internal sense of being female, male, or something else. Gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others via clothing, hairstyle, behavior, body characteristics, or voice. Transgender people may be lesbian, straight, gay, asexual, or bisexual, and the term transgender is used to encompass a wide category of individuals. With 0.3 percent of American adults being transgender, employers must be able to handle workplace issues. How an employer handles, an employee's transition can have an impact on not only the employee but their co-workers as well, and there may be legal implications. If I were a senior manager in a company with a transgender employee, I would attract and retain the individuals most qualified for particular jobs. I would be innovative, productive, and creative because inclusiveness means that I can choose from a broad range of talented people. All workers would be treated fairly and would be judged on their abilities, not their gender identity or expression. I would comply with state, local, federal, and global employment laws and propose and fulfill inclusion and diversity initiatives. I would address questions and reactions from co-workers knowing that some will be supportive while others might be offended. There would be clear statements that all employees are supported and welcomed by the company via employee handbooks, training, manuals, and orientation. Gender stereotypes would be avoided in the dress code policy and benefits would not be denied on the basis of gender expression or identity (Society for Human Resource Management, 2013).
The EEOC filed a lawsuit on June 05, 2015 charging Deluxe Financial Services Corp. with sex discrimination against a transgender employee. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits sex discrimination, including that based on transgender status and gender stereotyping and also includes subjecting an employee to various conditions and terms, and hostile work environment because of sex. This is one of three recent lawsuits filed by the EEOC that allege discrimination based on transitioning, gender identity or transgender status. The suit is seeking both injunctive and monetary relief for Britney Austin who when she presented herself at work as a women and informed her supervisors that she was transgender was subject to a hostile work environment and hurtful epithets. In December of 2012 the EEOC adopted the Strategic Enforcement Plan (SEP) which includes "coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals under Title VII's sex discrimination provisions, as they may apply" as a top Commission enforcement priority and this lawsuit is part of the efforts to implement it (U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, 2015).
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