Here’s some good news.
The Justice Department will soon be able to bring legal claims on behalf of people who have been discriminated against by state and local public employers based on sex identity — all in part due to the U.S. interpreting federal laws to prohibit workplace discrimination.
In short, the U.S. will now protect transgender workers from discrimination, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.
According to the Associated Press:
In defending lawsuits, the federal government also will no longer take the position that Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, which bans sex discrimination, does not protect against workplace discrimination on the basis of gender status.
The memo released Thursday is part of a broader Obama administration effort to afford workplace protection for transgender employees. In July, President Barack Obama ordered employment protection for gay and transgender employees who work for the U.S. government or for companies holding federal contracts.
The new position is a reversal in position for the Justice Department, which in 2006 stated that Title VII did not cover discrimination based on transgender status.
“The federal government’s approach to this issue has also evolved over time,” Holder wrote in the memo, saying his position was based on the “most straightforward reading” of the law.
Holder’s memo was welcomed by Mara Keisling, the executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, although she added the move doesn’t break new ground as much as it affirms the position the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been taking since 2012.
“It’s just another message to employers, whether they are public employers or private employers, that it is illegal in every state in this country to discriminate against transgender people in employment,” she said.
Which, in our opinion, is long overdue anyway.
SOURCE: Yahoo/AP | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty