The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights recently published a best practices guide for employers regarding transgender issues in the workplace: Valuing Transgender Applicants and Employees: A Best Practices Guide For Employers. Combined with earlier guidance from the EEOC on transgender bathroom access and LGBT discrimination, employers must not ignore this issue.
The DCOHR guidance offers nine “best practices” for employers dealing with transgender employees and job applicants:
- Maintain confidentiality.
- Use proper names and pronouns.
- Ensure access to restrooms and other facilities.
- Implement gender-neutral dress codes.
- Address challenges with other employees and coworkers.
- Use proactive methods to uncover discrimination.
- Ensure interviews are welcoming.
- Ensure fair background checks.
- Avoid irrelevant questions when checking references.
Further, in light of the Seventh Circuit’s full panel oral argument in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College, heard yesterday, it seems quite likely that we will soon have a federal appellate court holding that Title VII expressly bans LGBT employment discrimination, per legal sources familiar with the rehearing argument. A recording of yesterday’s oral argument, should you be so inclined to listen, is available here.
Many employers are, and should be, treating employees who may identify as LGBT with proper approach and measure, even without explicit court statement. That should continue.