HRC Blog

Labor Department Issues Guidance on Workplace Non-Discrimination Protections

Today the U.S. Department of Labor issued official guidance and enforcement protocols clarifying the reach of the federal non-discrimination laws enforced by the Department and ensuring full protection for transgender individuals who work for federal contractors and subcontractors covered by these laws.  This guidance is consistent with the 2012 decision in Macy v. Holder, in which the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined that discrimination based on an individual's gender identity is sex discrimination and thus constitutes a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1974.

"The Labor Department guidance issued today is a giant step toward ensuring American workers are judged based on the work they do, and never because of a fundamental aspect of who they are – like their gender identity,” said Human Rights Campaign Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.  “Transgender people face some of the highest levels of discrimination in our community, particularly in the workplace. And while explicit workplace protections are still needed at all levels of government, transgender people who work for federal contractors can now use this guidance as further protection from discrimination on the job."

The guidance will not only equip employees of federal contractors experiencing discrimination with an additional avenue to file a complaint outside of the EEOC process, but will also put employers on notice of existing non-discrimination obligations.  This guidance illustrates the Department's consistent commitment to ending workplace discrimination, and will undoubtedly go a long way towards educating and empowering workers and employers alike.

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