U.S. Department of Labor Announces New Policy Prohibiting
Gender Identity Discrimination
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 28, 2011
Kristina Wertz, Legal Director, Transgender Law Center
Office: 415-865-0176 x 302, firstname.lastname@example.org
(Washington, D.C.), April 28, 2011 - The U.S. Department of Labor today announced that it will explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity within the department. New equal employment opportunity policies, signed by Secretary Hilda Solis, include updated policies on prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex, including gender identity and pregnancy.
The Transgender Law Center praises Secretary Solis for this important step to level the playing field for current and potential transgender employees of the Department of Labor.
"We applaud Secretary Solis for acting with fairness and equity for its employees," said Masen Davis, Executive Director of the Transgender Law Center. "We look forward to continuing to work with the administration to respond to the employment-related needs of all Americans - including transgender Americans - and ensure equal access to federal employment programs for everyone."
"I am expressing my personal commitment to ensure that the U.S. Department of Labor is a model workplace, free from unlawful discrimination and harassment, which fosters a work environment that fully utilizes the capabilities of every employee," said Secretary Solis. "It is my goal that we achieve and maintain a high-quality, diverse workforce at all organizational levels throughout the department."
A startling number of transgender and gender non-conforming Californians continue to face workplace discrimination, harassment and unemployment directly linked to their gender identity or expression. As shown in the Transgender Law Center's 2009 Report, The State of Transgender California, transgender people face twice the rate of unemployment as the general population. The Department of Labor is the federal agency primarily responsible for addressing unemployment. As such, the Department of Labor is well positioned serve as a model employer for transgender people.
The Transgender Law Center views this as the first in many steps the Department of Labor can take to alleviate unemployment for transgender people and others who do not fit narrow gender stereotypes. The Transgender Law Center calls on the Department to ensure that all programs funded by the Department of Labor comply with all local and state laws prohibiting discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
The department's policies on equal employment opportunity and harassing conduct in the workplace can be viewed at http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/crc-internal/eeo.htm and http://www.dol.gov/oasam/programs/crc/crc-internal/Policy-Statement-on-Harassing-Conduct-in-the-Workplace.htm.
The Transgender Law Center is a civil rights organization advocating for transgender communities. The Transgender Law Center uses direct legal services, education, community organizing, and advocacy to transform California into a state that recognizes and supports the needs of transgender people and their families. www.TransgenderLawCenter.org.