Sexual Harassment Rights of Transgender Individuals in NYC

Image of two transgender

New York City Lawyers Protecting Transgender Employees from Sexual Harassment

Sex harassment attorneys, like the ones at Leeds Brown Law, P.C., see a growing number of cases brought to us by transgender individuals experiencing mistreatment in the workplace. Thankfully, New York City and New York State are at the forefront of providing protective legislation for workers. Harassment and discrimination in the workplace are unlawful when based on someone’s gender expression, including status as transgender, gender dysphoria, and gender identity.

Have you experienced employment discrimination or harassment because you are a gender dysphoric or transgender individual? Do you feel unsafe at work? Have you received less than equal treatment? If so, consider speaking with an attorney at Leeds Brown. Our experienced sexual harassment lawyers have decades of experience representing clients in New York City and the surrounding metro area in a wide variety of cases involving workplace discrimination. We have the skill and determination to help you proceed toward a successful resolution of your claim. Our proven track record speaks for itself.

Sexual Harassment and Sex Discrimination in the Workplace are Unlawful

New York has legislation that prohibits various types of employment discrimination called New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). New York City has similar laws referred to in their entirety as New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL). NYSHRL states that an employer may not discriminate against someone in the terms and conditions of employment because of race religion, color, age, nationality, sex, disability, or marital status. Terms and conditions of employment include compensation, hiring, firing, promotions and most other employment-related benefits and decisions.

Under NYSHRL, for example, it is unlawful for an employer to terminate someone’s employment because she is getting married, refuse to hire someone because of his religion or have a policy of never promoting women to managerial positions.

Transgender Workers May Receive Reasonable Accommodations in NYC

New York also has disability discrimination laws requiring that disabled workers receive reasonable accommodations to allow them to continue to perform their job. If a worker can perform the essential functions of the job with or without a disability, the employer must make a reasonable accommodation for the worker. A reasonable accommodation usually involves things like moving workspace, reassigning some duties or changing a work shift.

“Disability” under New York Human Rights Law includes gender identity and gender dysphoria. NYHRL makes it clear that in all areas of the law that prohibit discrimination based on disability, discrimination based on gender identity is also prohibited. The law also specifically states that by refusing to provide accommodations for an employee with gender dysphoria, an employer is unlawfully discriminating.

What might a reasonable accommodation for a gender dysphoric employee involve? Perhaps moving the desk of a transgender employee away from a co-worker who openly makes fun of him would be a reasonable accommodation. Or, providing a new business card to an employee who is undergoing a gender transition, one that reflects a new name and pronoun. An experienced sex harassment lawyer can help you understand what the laws require your employer to do, negotiate a reasonable accommodation or provide you with next steps should you wish to file a claim for damages.

New York City Human Rights Law and New York State Human Rights Law Address the Rights of Transgender Employees

Gender dysphoric workers and transgender workers receive specific protection under NYSHRL and NYCHRL. The laws apply to employees who work for private businesses and public institutions. The laws contain provisions that prohibit sexual harassment and employment discrimination against transgender individuals.

What does this mean? It means an employer may not fire, refuse to hire, refuse to promote, make an employment decision or harass someone based on an individual’s gender identity. There is guidance from the New York City Human Rights Commission that offers help to further understand the obligations of employers and the rights of employees.

An employer must use an individual’s preferred pronoun, title, and name. An individual has the right to determine how others will refer to them. When someone asks to be called John, and the employer continues to refer to the person as Jane, it may be unlawful. Refusing to use the proper title because of gender stereotypes is also prohibited. Calling a male employee “she” because he is “stereotypically female” is also discriminatory. So is referring to an employee by a pronoun they have repeatedly asked you not to use. The employee does not have to provide medical proof or any legal documentation of a name change to obligate the employer to comply with their request.

  • An employer must allow individuals to use single-sex bathrooms, programs, and facilities that are consistent with their gender. A transgender man must be allowed to use the men’s restroom. It is unlawful to prohibit a transgender woman from joining the women’s workplace softball team or using the women’s locker room.
  • An employer may not stereotype based on sex. For instance, an employer may not have a policy that prohibits only men from wearing makeup. A no-makeup policy would have to apply to the entire workforce.
  • An employer must grant benefits and reasonable accommodations with no regard to gender or gender identity. For instance, a paid medical leave policy must be enforced equally regardless of the reason for the leave. An employer who makes a reasonable accommodation for an employee recovering from surgery should make an accommodation for an employee recovering from gender reassignment or other gender-related surgery. Employers who offer benefits opposite-sex spouses must offer them to same-sex spouses.
  • An employer must not harass or allow harassment against an employee based on gender identity or gender expression. Sexual harassment is a significant workplace problem for many gender dysphoric and transgender individuals. These workers are often threatened with violence, intimidated, and bullied. An employer may not allow such behavior in the workplace and has a duty to take steps to stop it when it does occur.
  • An employer must not retaliate against a worker for trying to protect workplace rights. An employer may not take any negative action against an individual because of a request for a reasonable accommodation based on gender identity or for opposing or reporting sex discrimination or unlawful sexual harassment.

Contact Transgender Discrimination Attorneys

New York City is one of the first in the nation to specifically address the needs of the transgender community, ensuring that they receive the same rights to work in a place free from gender discrimination and sexual harassment. While many states are limiting the rights of individuals with gender dysphoria, New York is leading the way toward strengthening equality for all employees. Leeds Brown is proud to be an employment law firm that represents workers in the entire metropolitan area when they encounter any unlawful sex harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

New York City gender discrimination and sex harassment lawyers at Leeds Brown are intimately familiar with federal, state and city laws that grant a tremendous range individuals the right to work in a safe environment where they receive equal treatment. Our committed and compassionate attorneys work tirelessly to see that when employers violate the rights of workers, they are held accountable for their unlawful actions.

We are here for you 24/7 and will gladly provide you with a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to receive monetary compensation. If so, Leeds Brown can help you obtain it. Contact the New York City gender discrimination and sexual harassment lawyers at Leeds Brown today by calling 1-800-585-4658.