If you have faced harassment or discrimination on the job because of your gender identity, because you identify as non-binary, or trans, or because of your gender expression, you may have the right to seek damages for your losses and may be able to fight back. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, it is against the law to discriminate against a person because of the person’s gender identity or expression. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reports that it has obtained as much as $6.4 billion dollars for individuals after they suffered discrimination due to their gender identity or expression. Individuals have sometimes lost jobs, have had to leave jobs, or suffered because they were passed up for promotions because of their gender identity or expression. What are some examples of discrimination or harassment based on gender identity? Here are some examples:
- Failing to hire a person because they identify as trans or because of their gender identity.
- Firing a person because they are undergoing transition.
- Failing to give a person access to the restroom that matches their gender identity.
- Refusing to use a person’s name or pronoun that matches a person’s gender identity, which may include the use of he, her, or their, depending on the person’s preference.
- Harassing or abusing a person because of their gender identity.
While an occasional mistake, like a misuse of the appropriate gender pronoun may not in itself constitute sexual harassment, repeated and intentional misuse or refusal to use a person’s gender pronoun could be considered sexual harassment and discrimination. Comments and other abuse should never be tolerated. Individuals who are harassed because they are not acting like a “woman” should act or are not acting like a “man” should act could also have rights when fighting an employer for sexual harassment or discrimination. Unfortunately, trans and non-binary individuals are often targets of sexual harassment, violence, and abuse, both in the workplace and without. If you or someone you love has had to leave a job due to sexual harassment or discrimination, or was fired, demoted, or not hired due to their gender identity, you may have certain rights under the law. Moore & Associates is a sexual harassment law firm in Houston, Texas that may be able to help you seek damages from an employer that sexual harassed or discriminated against you because of your gender identity or expression.
What Can You Do If You Experience Workplace Sexual Harassment Due to Your Gender Identity?
If you experience workplace harassment due to your gender identity, you have the right to tell the harasser to stop the behavior. One of the common issues that can arise with a person who is non-binary or trans is the use of gender neutral pronouns, or the use of pronouns that correspond with the person’s gender. Many non-binary individuals ask that they be referred to as they, rather he or she. While this can take some getting used to for co-workers, it is important to understand that honoring a person’s wishes and respecting a person’s gender pronouns is part of good workplace ethics and promoting a safe environment for all.
If, for example, a co-worker or manager refuses to use your gender pronoun, you have the right to correct the co-worker or manager and ask that the person respect your gender pronoun. The law allows for the occasional mistake or slip up and it is normal for everyone to slip up from time to time when it comes to using appropriate gender pronouns. This doesn’t constitute sexual harassment or discrimination, especially if the person takes steps to correct the error, apologizes, and move forward. However, if a person refuses to honor a person’s gender pronoun, this can create an uncomfortable situation in the workplace.
If the co-worker or manager continues to fail to use your gender pronoun, document these instances and consider reporting the behavior to your supervisor or to human resources. Managers and employers have a responsibility to make the workplace safe for all, and if a co-worker is misgendering an employee, managers and human resources may sometimes need to take action to prevent facing sexual harassment or discrimination issues. Finally, if reporting the issue to human resources or management fails to result in changes, or if you experience retaliation as a result, you may have the right to take legal action. You may only have a limited amount of time to file a discrimination lawsuit, however. If you are facing discrimination or harassment on the job, Moore & Associates is a sexual harassment law firm in Houston, Texas that may be able to help you. Reach out to our sexual harassment law firm today or connect with USAttorneys.com to get matched with our sexual harassment lawyer today.