The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) forged new ground earlier this month when it ordered the U.S. Army to pay damages to a transgender employee based on a discriminatory restroom policy. We have reported in past posts on the EEOCs increased enforcement focus on transgender rights in the workplace under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as the increased societal focus on this issue. (See, prior posts here and here.) The EEOCs recent April 1st ruling in Tamara Lusardi v. John M. McHugh, Secretary, Department of the Army reflects this trend and sets forth important guidance on the EEOCs position on transgender restroom rights.
The EEOCs decision in Lusardi makes clear the EEOCs position that transgender individuals must be permitted to use the workplace restroom that matches the individuals gender identity. While the Lusardi decision is not binding on federal courts, federal courts often defer to the EEOCs position on federal discrimination laws. As such, employers should review their restroom policies and practices to avoid discrimination risks and should be training managers and employees on transgender rights in the workplace.
Julie Giddings focuses her practice on the areas of employment and higher education law. She regularly advises employers on a diverse range of employment law issues, including discrimination, retaliation and harassment issues ...
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