While Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not explicitly include gender identity in its list of protected bases, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), consistent with case law from the Supreme Court and other courts, has interpreted the statute’s sex discrimination provision as prohibiting discrimination against employees on the basis of gender identity. Back in April 2012, the EEOC confirmed its intention to protect transgender employees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. In fact, just recently the EEOC has made it clear that combating gender identity discrimination is a “priority issue” by joining a lawsuit initiated by a transgender male (transitioning from female). In the lawsuit, the plaintiff employee claims he was required by his Employer to dress and act as a woman in the workplace so as not to confuse customers. The employee has sued for gender identity discrimination under Title VII. Employers are required by law to reasonably accommodate transgender employees, including as to their dress and appearance, as well as bathroom usage, among other issues.
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