Bending Further Toward Justice

The long arc of the moral universe bent a little further in the direction of justice and equality with a recent landmark settlementin favor of a transgender woman who was fired when she told her employer she would be transitioning while on the job. While there is still no federal law barring discrmination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, the trend has been for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and some Courts to recognize that discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression is discrimination based on sex, which Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits.

According to the American Civil Liberties Union, currently 16 states and D.C., along with 150 cities and counties, have laws that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. Twenty-one states and D.C. have laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Yet the majority of American states still do not offer protection from employment discrimination for the LGBT community. The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) would make it illegal to fire or fail to hire an employee because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, but the law died in Congress with a majority of Republicans voting “nay” against such fundamental fairness. Of course. See infographic below.