TLDEF Praises Attorney General Holder for Addressing Transgender Discrimination

Dept. Of justice logoDecember 19, 2014 - TLDEF reacted positively to this week’s announcement by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder that the Department of Justice will now interpret federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender people.

According to the department, Attorney General Holder stated that the department “will take the position in litigation that the protection of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to claims of discrimination based on an individual’s gender identity, including transgender status,” reversing a previous Department of Justice position. Title VII makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate in employment because of sex, among other protected characteristics.

In issuing this memo, Attorney General Holder said:

“This important shift will ensure that the protections of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 are extended to those who suffer discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. This will help to foster fair and consistent treatment for all claimants. And it reaffirms the Justice Department’s commitment to protecting the civil rights of all Americans.”

Statement from TLDEF Executive Director Michael Silverman

“We are grateful to Attorney General Holder for recognizing that transgender employees are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already taken this position, allowing individuals to bring suits against their employers based upon anti-transgender discrimination. Attorney General Holder’s statement means that the Department of Justice can now file claims on behalf of employees who have experienced anti-transgender discrimination in public sector jobs.

“No one should ever lose their job simply for being who they are. Everyone deserves the same opportunity to earn a living and provide for their families. Transgender people face tremendous job discrimination. They experience unemployment at twice the rate of the general population. And they are nearly four times more likely than the general population to have a household income of less than $10,000. Attorney General Holder’s action is a major step forward in protecting transgender people in the American workforce.“