Best Ohio Employment Discrimination Attorney Answer: Do transgendered employees have rights against discrimination? Can I be discriminated against because I am a man living as a woman? What should I do if I was wrongfully fired for being transgendered?
As our employment discrimination lawyers have blogged before, Ohio law does not protect discrimination based upon sexual orientation (also here). Therefore, employees experiencing discrimination because of the sexual orientation at work are not a protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Likewise, the Ohio Civil Rights Act‘s prohibition on sex discrimination does not include sexual orientation harassment. That’s what the Ohio Court of Appeals for the Seventh District recently held in Inskeep v. Western Reserve Transit Authority.
However, current EEOC decisions are beginning to change the stance on sexual orientation discrimination. Employer discrimination based on the sexual orientation of the employee is currently undeterred by federal and state law until the EEOC’s recent decision in Macy v. Eric Holder. In Macy, a male living as a female under the name of Mia Macy, applied for a position with the FBI. Macy was told by her supervisor a Walnut Creek, CA branch of the Bureau of Alcohol, Weapons and Firearms had an opening in is laboratory. Macy was well qualified for the position and submitted an application as well as a phone interview. The director said she should have the position so long as she cleared a background check. Macy’s application was solicited by the bureau branch under the belief Macy was living as a male. Once it became clear in the application process Macy was no longer a male, Macy was notified the position was no longer available.
According to the National Center for Transgender Equality, very few states provide specific laws protecting transgender employees. Those states currently include California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington State and Puerto Rico.
In the state of Ohio, the only protection expressly afforded to transgender employees is in the form of an executive order by Governor John Kasich enacted on January 11, 2011. The Anti-Discrimination Policy states that “No person employed by any State Cabinet agency or by a State board or commission shall discriminate against any other State employee or candidate for State employment on the basis of race….. or sexual orientation, as those terms are defined in Ohio law, federal law, and previous Executive Orders.” The executive order only protects state employees and allows employees who are experiencing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation to file a complaint with their supervisor, the agency’s Equal Opportunity office, the Equal Opportunity Division of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services, the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, or the U.S. Equal Opportunity provision. The remedies a state employee may have under the executive order include the termination of parties found to have engaged in discrimination as well as sanctions for the discriminatory conduct.
Unfortunately for transgender employees, the law only provides a remedy if the discrimination you are experiencing is because of your sexual orientation, not because of an identification of gender. If you’re a state employee experiencing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, although you do not have a private cause of action for discrimination, you may be able to file a complaint with the state Equal Opportunity Division or the EEOC.
Needless to say, there are large gaps in the law for protections of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered employees. Everyone should urge their lawmakers to close these gaps at both the federal and state levels. Until then it is critical to contact a knowledgeable employment law attorney that can help you navigate the all possible claims and properly inform you of your employment rights.
If you are searching “I need a lawyer because I have been wrongfully fired or terminated;” or “I have been discriminated against because I’m…” gay, a lesbian, or transgender; or even think that you might need an employment lawyer, then it would be best to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040. The Spitz Law Firm and its attorneys are experienced and dedicated to protecting employees’ rights and solving employment disputes.
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