The city of Orlando, Florida, is considering a measure that would outlaw workplace discrimination against transgender residents.
The measure, designed to prevent workplace harassment and other negative experiences, would shield those who self-identify as members of the opposite gender. The legislation would protect transgender residents from workplace discrimination. In addition, it would also provide them with rights at restaurants, hotels, bars and other public facilities. Businesses would also be prohibited from denying transgender residents jobs or promotions, and their transgender status could not affect renting or buying a home.
Existing city anti-discrimination ordinances already promote diversity by protecting certain groups from workplace discrimination. No one can be discriminated against because of his or her ethnicity, marital status, age, religion or national origin, among other factors. However, transgender residents are not explicitly protected.
Experts say that has to change, considering a recent report that was released by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, along with other partner groups. Transgender individuals are about twice as likely to be unemployed, and 81 percent of those residing in Florida say that they have suffered from workplace harassment. More than half also said that they had lost their jobs or been denied a promotion, ostensibly because of their gender identity. Transgender residents further reported a significant amount of harassment in public spaces such as restaurants.
No one should have to endure workplace harassment because of their gender identity, even if employers are unfamiliar with the transgender community. Important legislation like this measure could help workers enjoy safer on-the-job experiences, shielding them from workplace discrimination and sexual harassment. Victims of sexual harassment at work have the right to seek compensation for their emotional distress, pain and suffering and other serious civil claims.
Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Orlando considers ban on transgender discrimination,” Mark Schlueb, July 7, 2014.