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Is gender identity protected in the workplace?

For employers in Texas, creating an inclusive workplace is a must. This includes being sensitive to issues involving gender identity, of which many people lack a real understanding. Accordingly, it’s important for business owners to be fully aware of the law to ensure they remain compliant to all relevant statutes.

As stated by WorkplaceFairness.org, the first step for many employers is to understand what gender identity discrimination actually is. According to current legislation, mistreatment of those who adhere to different thoughts or beliefs regarding gender is prohibited by law. This can include not treating an individual as an equal, terminating the employment of a person with an alternate gender identity or failing to make the proper accommodations (such as access to the appropriate restroom).

It’s also crucial that you know the proper nomenclature for issues relating to gender identity. Gender identity indicates the gender that an individual currently identifies with (as opposed to the gender at the time of their birth). Additionally, transgender describes a person that does not adhere to their anatomical gender and instead has assumed another gender identity.

In the event one of your employees is being harassed because of gender identity, the issue may actually escalate beyond just workplace discrimination. In fact, harassment can even be construed as a hate crime under certain circumstances. Federal laws dictate that certain groups (including transgender people) are protected from harassment based on their identities, which can often be considered as a form of sexual harassment. In this case, your employee may choose to file suit against both the individual involved in the harassment, as well as the company itself. 

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