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Labor Department extends employment protections to transgender workers

Tuesday, August 19, 2014
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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor on Tuesday issued guidance clarifying that sex discrimination includes gender identity and transgender status of individuals who work for federal contractors and subcontractors.

The news follows a June announcement by Labor Secretary Thomas Perez that the department is updating enforcement protocols and anti-discrimination guidance to clarify that full protection of federal non-discrimination laws enforced by the Labor Department extends to transgender individuals.

This guidance is consistent with the 2012 decision in Macy v. Holder, in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity is sex discrimination and constitutes a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1974.

The Human Rights Campaign called the guidance “a giant step” toward ending workplace discrimination.

“Transgender people face some of the highest levels of discrimination in our community, particularly in the workplace,” said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow, in a statement. “And while explicit workplace protections are still needed at all levels of government, transgender people who work for federal contractors can now use this guidance as further protection from discrimination on the job.”

Last month, President Barack Obama signed executive orders prohibiting discrimination against gay and transgender workers in the federal government and its contracting agencies.

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