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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission issued a decision which finds that discrimination based on gender identity, change of sex, and/or transgender status is cognizable under Title VII.  The case, Mia Macy v. Attorney General, did not weigh the merits of the complaint, but assessed whether the complainant had brought a claim over which the Commission has jurisdiction. In other words, the Commission made a decision on whether it recognizes claims that allege transgender discrimination. In its finding the Commission ruled that claims alleging discrimination based on transgender status are actionable, and therefore established that the Commission views transgender persons as a protected class under Title VII.

The case itself involves Mia Macy, a transgender woman who worked for a ballistics team in the Department of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. Macy then applied for another a ballistics job at an ATF laboratory in Walnut Creek, California, and was accepted pending a background check. Meanwhile, Macy, who had applied for the job as a man, had gone through a transition to become a female. Macy informed her to-be employer in Walnut Creek of her transition and moved her family to California. Afterwards, she was informed that the job had been eliminated because of budget cuts. Later, Macy learned that the position had in fact been filled.

Macy then filed suit alleging sex and gender discrimination. The ATF responded by alleging that discrimination based on transgender status is not a recognized claim under Title VII. The Commission, in issuing its ruling explained that it did not believe that Title VII’s protections were limited to a strict interpretation of biological sex. Rather, the statute’s protections are broader because the term “gender” also includes cultural and social aspects associated with masculinity and femininity.  Therefore, the Title VII’s prohibition is not limited only to instances where a man is chose en lieu of a female or vice verse, but also cases where gender stereotypes or prejudices affect the employment status of an individual like Macy. Now, after the Commission’s ruling Macy’s case can proceed to be evaluated on its merits.

For anyone who believes that one’s employment should only be evaluated simply on the basis of the quality of work performed, not their race, gender, ethnicity, or now, transgender status, this decision should come as a welcomed addition.

If you even think that your employment rights have been violated or that you might need an employment lawyer, then call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm is dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.

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