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Transgender rights under Title VII decided in court

Transgender employees in New York and elsewhere across the country who have interest in litigation that could potentially impact their rights in the workplace may want to take note of a decision that was handed down on the other side of the country on Oct. 4, 2016. In that decision, the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada agreed with the position of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 gives transgender employees the right to use bathroom facilities that are consistent with their gender identity.

The EEOC had previously interpreted Title VII to cover gender identity in this manner. This is apparently the first court to adopt this position, however, according to an LGBT advocacy group.

The Clark County School District had banned the plaintiff, an employee of the district who identifies as male but is a biological female, from using both the men's and the women's bathrooms at work. Rather, he was required to use a gender-neutral bathroom, although such facilities were not always available at all work locations throughout the district. An attorney for the district did argue otherwise, but according to the court, the district discriminated against the plaintiff in the matter based on gender and sex stereotyping.

In response, an attorney representing the advocacy group termed the decision a significant victory as well as a sign of momentum that is building in support of the legal rights of transgender individuals in the workplace and elsewhere. New York residents who believe that they may be the victim of this type of employment discrimination may want to meet with an attorney to see whether the results of this particular case have been adopted by courts in their jurisdiction.

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