Workplace Rights For Transgender Employees

Posted by Sessions & Kimball |

Navigating the complexities of labor law and rights in the workplace is overwhelming in many circumstances. When compounded by issues of identity and potential discrimination, the challenge becomes even more pronounced, like for transgender employees. However, in the progressive landscape of California, there’s a strong set of rights designed to protect and support transgender individuals within the work environment, and it’s important to understand what protections exist.

Specific Rights of Transgender Employees in California

California has long been at the forefront of civil rights, and the protection of transgender employees is no exception. The state’s laws are designed to ensure that gender identity and expression are not the basis for discrimination, harassment, or retaliation. Companies across the state must adhere to these regulations, providing a safe and inclusive space for all employees. 

Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Employees

Transgender and gender-nonconforming employees are legally protected under California law from the first day of their employment. The law extends to every facet of employment – from hiring to termination, and every interaction in between.

Transgender employees have the right to work in an environment free from harassment, discrimination, and any undue hardship as a direct result of their gender identity or expression. This includes being addressed by their chosen name and pronouns, wearing attire that aligns with their gender expression, and using facilities consistent with their gender.

Employees have the right to use and be addressed by the name and pronouns that correspond with their gender identity or gender expression.

Non-Discrimination in Employment Practices

Employers are barred from any form of discrimination based on gender identity or expression. This protection ensures a fair employment process and experience for all workers, irrespective of gender identification or expression. This extends to all employment practices, including recruitment, promotions, pay, and benefits.

Harassment and Hostile Work Environment

Transgender employees in California are legally protected against harassment and hostile work environments. Harassment due to one’s gender identity or expression is not only morally reprehensible but also explicitly illegal under state law.

This encompasses derogatory comments, deliberate misuse of pronouns, and exclusionary practices that create an intimidating, hostile, or offensive working environment. Employers are obligated to take prompt, effective action to address any incidents and establish clear policies that discourage discrimination and harassment.

Retaliation is Prohibited

Any form of retaliation against an employee who exercises their rights is unlawful. This extends to filing a complaint, participating in an investigation, or taking court action against an employer suspected of discrimination or harassment. Employees must feel secure in their ability to speak out without fear of retribution.

Healthcare Rights and Insurance Coverage

Employers must provide comprehensive health insurance that covers medically necessary gender-affirming care. 

Under California law, employer-provided health plans must cover medically necessary gender-affirming care.

This reflects the state’s recognition of the healthcare needs specific to transgender individuals and promotes inclusivity and equal access in this area.

Employment Records 

Employers are required to respect an employee’s chosen name and pronouns in all documentation. This practice upholds an employee’s dignity and allows them to manage their professional identity in a manner consistent with their personal expression and comfort level.

Understanding your rights as a transgender employee in California is the first step toward safeguarding your professional and personal well-being. It’s important to be aware of the laws and to seek assistance when necessary to ensure that your workplace is adhering to the legal requirements set by the state. If you need assistance, it’s important to reach out to an employment lawyer as soon as possible. Contact Sessions & Kimball today to schedule your free consultation