What is Considered Gender Identity Discrimination?


If you own a business or manage a business, you need to learn about gender identity discrimination and how it affects your business. Our experts in Long Beach CA employment discrimination law at Neal-Lopez Law Group put together this blog to explain the essentials. If you’re an employer, you need to create business procedures and an accepting workplace. If you’re an employee, you need to understand what the law requires and what activities and procedures are and aren’t acceptable in your employer’s workplace.

The state of California passed a law in 2011 that protects an individual’s gender identity in the workplace. The state later updated it, and the new compliance requirements went into effect on July 1, 2017. The US law also provides protection and the US Office of Personnel Management provides a brief to help employers address the situation, so they can provide a suitable, rather than hostile, workplace.

What is Gender Identity?

According to Psycom.net, the term gender identity refers to who you are as a person. You define your gender identity as female, male, nonbinary, gender expansive, unassigned, or transgender. Your gender decides how those in the world around you see you and respond to you. Your birth certificate simply states the sex organs your body developed in vitro. You choose your gender, as simple or complex as that might be.

What exactly is my gender identity?

Gender identity also differs from sexual orientation. The latter refers to the preferred or chosen sex of your intimate partners, hence terms like straight CIS female or gay transgender man. A transgender or transvestite man could sexually orient to enjoy sexual relations with a woman although the former wants to transition to being a woman, while the latter remains a male and enjoys dressing as a woman all or part of the time.

The concept of gender identity encompasses much more than just how we dress or our genitalia. It extends to how each person expresses themself through their behaviors, choices, personality, characteristics, and thoughts. While each person is born of a specific sex, they choose the self-concept of gender.

What is considered Gender Identity Discrimination?

A wide array of items qualify as gender identity discrimination including binary-labeled single-use bathrooms, blocking access to a bathroom based on the individual’s chosen gender identity, referring to the individual by pronouns they do not identify with, or using their given name instead of their chosen name.

The regulations don’t specify remedies in every case, but an employment law lawyer in Long Beach can help you. In some situations, they do provide directives on how to appropriately handle situations. For example, businesses should use the individual’s chosen gender, chosen pronouns, and name on all internal documents. The business should only use the individual’s birth gender, pronouns, and name on Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and other such legal documents that must match in all respects their birth certificate, driver’s license, etc.

What laws are set in California to protect gender identity discrimination?

The state of California passed the Fair Employment and Housing Act in 2011. That law prohibits employment discrimination based upon gender identity and/or gender expression. It did not include practical guidance for compliance, though until an amendment that became effective on July 1, 2017.

One thing to understand that no document has made explicit yet is that the law equally protects everyone, so it also addresses reverse discrimination. The law protects individuals from their employer assuming their gender identity or sexual orientation and treating them accordingly. This means that while the law provides a win for the LGBTQ community, it also protects the straight and the undecided. Essentially, the law mandates doing away with stereotypes, creating a non-sexist, non-judgmental workplace. You must provide a non-hostile workplace that respects transitioning and transitioned employees, as well as CIS employees. If you’re not sure how to do that, employment attorneys in Long Beach CA can help you.

What do you do if you believe you have been discriminated against?

If an employer asked you for proof of gender as a condition of employment or allowed the existence of a hostile workplace after your hiring, you should contact a Long Beach workplace discrimination attorney.

Other situations provide an opportunity for internal remedies. You should first speak with your supervisor or employer. The employer should provide internal remedies to address problems. You should pursue this avenue first.

Continue to perform your job duties to the best of your ability. If you quit your job, you make it tougher to pursue redress.

If your employer does not begin internal processes to rectify the situation, contact an employment law attorney in Long Beach. Working with Long Beach workplace attorneys can help you obtain a suitable outcome for your situation.

How our attorneys can help you

Employers, let the Long Beach workplace lawyers at Neal-Lopez Law Group help you develop workplace business procedures and processes that protect your employees from discrimination. With our help, you can develop compliant ways of doing business that provide just as efficient as any previously used. Employees, contact a Long Beach CA employment discrimination lawyer if you experience discrimination in your workplace. We can represent you in court or help you address the problem by working with your employer to rectify the situation. Call us today to get started on your case.