Feds: Bias Against Transgender Employees Is Sex Discrimination

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission says Mia Macy, a transgender federal employee, can in fact file a bias claim under Title VII after being denied a job her gender identity.

By Shani O. Hilton Apr 24, 2012

A federal agency has ruled that discrimination against employees for being transgender is sex discrimination after a trans woman was denied a job with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) when she transitioned from male to female. Mia Macy worked in the military and law enforcement as a man, and had an expert background in ballistics–qualifications that didn’t change when she transitioned. In its ruling, the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission wrote, "intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination ‘based on … sex’ and such discrimination … violates Title VII." The decision means that Macy can now have her case reviewed by the ATF’s Office of Equal Opportunity–an opportunity she had been denied because the ATF argued trans discrimination was not covered by Title VII. "Our national survey on transgender discrimination found staggering levels of workplace discrimination against transgender Americans," said Rea Carey, director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, in reference to [a recent report done in conjunction with the National Center for Transgender Equality](http://www.thetaskforce.org/reports_and_research/ntds). "This jeopardizes their ability to have or keep a job, have a roof over their head, and feed and take care of their family. Mia Macy’s situation is a case in point." The report found particularly high levels of both unemployment and reports of job discrimination among transgender people of color.