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Workplace Diversity

Protected Class Clarification: Gender Identity


Sep 20, 2011

Whether or not ‘Dancing With the Stars’ is one of your guilty pleasures, Chaz Bono has helped to bring the issue of gender identity to the forefront of American culture. The issue is now reaching the workplace as well. 

Organizations need to be proactive with updated diversity training to prevent harassment and discrimination claims as new legislation is passed.

  • The District of Columbia and over a dozen states have enacted Gender Identity Protection Acts, outlawing discrimination against this protected class.
  • Legislation is pending in Congress to protect students from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity.
  • Federal Courts have allowed some transgendered people to proceed with suits under Title VII.


What is Gender Identity?

A person’s appearance, expression, or behavior of their gender, regardless of their assigned sex at birth.  

The laws specify that a person cannot be discriminated against simply because they do not behave or present themselves in accordance with the gender they were born. Employers must treat the employee according to the gender for which they identify. This can quickly become an issue if your current diversity training does not this cover this newly protected category.

Now is a perfect time to launch a diversity training program that includes gender diversity to prevent implicit bias and encourage a discrimination free environment. Contact us to see a demo of our online Diversity Training that covers gender identity.


Managing Gender Identity in the Workplace

The addition of this protected class may mean accommodations and diversity training you've never before considered. To maintain a fair workplace, treat the employee in accordance with the gender they express.

  • Subject employees to the same rules and standards that apply to the group for which they present themselves.
  • Dress codes and grooming standards are still applicable. Enforce your policies consistent with the employees preferred gender expression.  
  • Bathroom and locker room usages may need to be accommodated.
  • Update your discrimination prevention and diversity training programs for all employees.

We know how difficult it is to maintain a fair and discrimination-free work environment. Workplace Answers can help – get more information on discrimination & harassment in the workplace and diversity training.

We also offer our Slate Learning Management System (LMS) that allows you to track the completion of all of our online compliance training courses including diversity training. You can use our SLATE LMS to add new employees, send automated training reminders, and generate completion reports on demand – all without any IT help!

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