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More Employers are Confronting Issues Involving Transsexual Discrimination

September 29, 2004
State and federal laws are moving in the direction of giving more protection to transsexual employees, according to Business Insurance.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, California, Minnesota, New Mexico, the District of Columbia and Rhode Island have banned discrimination based on sexual identity. In other states, various courts, commissions and agencies have given various protections to transsexuals through their rulings and regulations.

Janis Walworth is director of the Bellingham, Washington-based Center for Gender Sanity. "I think we’re seeing an increasing amount of protection, both in case law and in local and state ordinances," Walworth told Business Insurance. "I think the overall picture is pretty encouraging (for employees)." One watershed event: an opinion by an Ohio court that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgendered people.

Paul Mollica, a plaintiffs’ attorney with Meites, Mulder, Burger & Mollica in Chicago, says that "wise human resources professionals" are including language in their training that, regardless of their gender, people need to be treated with respect.

Transgender and transsexual individuals generally are those people whose sense of their gender is different than their anatomy.