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Sex Discrimination Ban to Include Gender Identity

Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that it is position of the Justice Department that unlawful sex discrimination includes sex discrimination based on gender identity.

In a memo issued on December 15, Holder wrote that it is his belief that the “best reading of Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.” This statement reverses the previous position of the Justice Department, which did not include discrimination against transgender people in its definition of sex discrimination. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination “because of” an employee’s sex. This means that your employer may not take an adverse action against you because of your sex. In other words, your sex cannot play a role in any aspect of your employment, including hiring, transfers, promotions, pay, disciplinary action, suspensions, and discharges.

Further, although sex discrimination laws were originally enacted to protect women, they have also been extended to cover discrimination against men. Now, such important protections have been broadened to include an individual’s psychological identification as a man, woman or some other gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth.

Holder noted, “This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status… This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants. And it reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.”

For more information, or if you believe that you have suffered any form of sex discrimination, please contact the dedicated Georgia employment discrimination lawyers at Buckley & Klein, LLP for an immediate

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