More than one in four transgender people have lost a job due to bias, and more than three-fourths have experienced some form of workplace discrimination. Refusal to hire, privacy violations, harassment, and even physical and sexual violence on the job are common occurrences, and are experienced at even higher rates by transgender people of color. Many people report changing jobs to avoid discrimination or the risk of discrimination. Extreme levels of unemployment and poverty lead one in eight to become involved in underground economies—such as sex and drug work—in order to survive.
The landmark Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County, decided on June 15, 2020, clarified that federal law prohibits anti-transgender discrimination in employment. This decision was built on many victories in recent years, wherein courts and federal agencies had increasingly taken the view that job discrimination against transgender people is prohibited by existing laws against sex discrimination. This inclusive understanding of sex discrimination laws, accepted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2012, has the potential to be a powerful tool to combat employment bias. The EEOC has now investigated and settled many cases on behalf of transgender workers and has identified LGBTQ workers’ rights as an enforcement priority. We strongly urge workers facing discrimination to use these protections and seek legal help.