In a recent groundbreaking decision announced on October 23, 2014, the United States Office of Special Council found that the United States Army discriminated against a transgender civilian worker who transitioned from male to female.
According to the report, the employee, a disabled vet, was working in the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center (“AMRDEC”) in Redstone, Alabama, when she transitioned from male to female in 2010. During that time, the Office of Special Council found that her employer engaged in a several discriminatory practices including, improperly restricting her restroom usage, referencing her with male pronouns, excessively monitoring her conversations with coworkers, and not giving her work.
Referencing the principles of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employer discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the office found the Army unlawfully discriminated against the employee under the Civil Service Reform Act, which prohibits discrimination against federal employees for conduct unrelated to their work performance.
In response, the Army has agreed to provide workplace diversity and sensitivity training, specifically focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals. Additionally, the employee has already been permitted to use the women’s restroom at work, rather than being restricted to a single-user, gender-neutral restroom.
In July 2014, President Obama signed an executive order banning workplace discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees of federal contractors and the federal government. The executive order prohibits firing or harassment of federal contractors based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and it bans discrimination against transgender employees of the federal government. The U.S. Office of Special Counsel is an independent federal investigative and prosecutorial agency charged with protecting federal employees and applicants from prohibited personnel practices.
If you or a loved one are facing discrimination in the workplace, contact a skilled New York employment law attorney to help you defend your rights.