Considering an employee’s gender identity or expression when making employment decisions is illegal in Washington State. Employees have a right to be free from discrimination because they are heterosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Additionally, employees whose gender identity is non-conforming to traditional stereotypes are protected from discrimination under the law. Employees who’ve been subject to gender identity discrimination may have a right to compensation and other remedies under the law.
Consult with a Gender Identity Discrimination Lawyer
Are you currently suffering from discrimination based on your gender identity? Have you been subjected to gender identity discrimination in the past at your workplace? If so, attorney Kristi Favard of Sapphire Legal, PLLC, is here to help. Kristi Favard believes that nobody should have to endure discrimination in the workplace based on their gender identity. She works zealously to represent clients in the greater Seattle area to seek a fair and just resolution with their employers. Contact her today to schedule your initial consultation.
What Is Gender Identity And Gender Expression?
Gender identity refers to each person’s identification of their gender. Every employee and potential employee has a gender identity that could be female, male, or another gender. Gender expression is a person’s outward manifestation of their inward gender identity through their hairstyle, clothing, characteristics, and mannerisms.
Employees who identify as transgender have a gender expression or identity different from those typically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth and listed on their birth certificate. The term transgender covers a wide range of people who experience their gender differently than how most people expect them to express their gender. They may physically change through medical treatment.
Types of Gender Identity Discrimination in the Workplace
Gender identity discrimination occurs when an employer or potential employer discriminates against an employee based on his or her gender identity. Common examples include the following:
- Refusing to hire a potential employee based on his or her gender identity
- Refusing to hire an employee based on the employee’s planned gender transition
- Denying a transgender employee access to restroom facilities
- Requiring a transgender employee to use a bathroom not consistent with the employee’s gender identity or presentation
- Harassing a transgender employee or allowing harassment to continue
- Refusing to allow an employee to wear a uniform consistent with his or her gender identity
- Permitting and/or refusing to investigate claims of gender identity harassment by an employee’s co-workers and supervisors
- Taking any other type of negative action due to an employee’s gender identity
Gender Identity Protection Under Federal Law
Federal employment law does not explicitly prohibit gender identity discrimination at this time. However, Congress has made efforts to pass a federal law that makes gender identity discrimination explicitly illegal. The Equality Act has been introduced to Congress. If passed into law, the Equality Act would explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination based on gender identity. Some federal case law interprets existing sex discrimination laws to prevent gender identity discrimination and certain circumstances.
Protection Against Gender Identity Discrimination in Washington State
As of this writing, 18 states prohibit gender-based discrimination. If you’ve been discriminated against based on your gender in Washington state, you are protected under state law. Under Washington law, employers are legally prohibited from considering an employee’s gender identity or gender expression when making the following employment decisions:
- Other terms and conditions of employment
Filing a Claim
Suppose you would like to file a claim for gender identity discrimination with the federal government or Washington state. In that case, you will need to identify the type of discrimination you’ve experienced. Attorney Kristi Favard will thoroughly investigate your claim and help you articulate all of these specific types of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation you’ve experienced in your claim. You may be able to recover lost wages if you’ve been fired or demoted because of your gender identity.
When an employer’s discriminatory behavior is particularly egregious, he or she may be able to receive an additional award of punitive damages. Additionally, the victims of gender identity discrimination may be able to recover lost wages as well as compensatory damages for the emotional harm and harm to their reputation they’ve endured.
When an employee was fired or demoted because of his or her gender identity or expression, the employee can be reinstated to their job or promoted to their rightful place in the company. Whether the employee files a lawsuit or pursues a settlement agreement, he or she can also recover a reasonable amount of attorney fees and costs if successful.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?
Many Washington state employees are not aware of the strict time limits for filing employment discrimination cases. If you’ve been discriminated against, harassed, or experienced retaliation based on your gender identity or expression, it’s crucial that you contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you fail to act in time, you could be barred from bringing a discrimination claim before a judge or jury. We will discuss your case with you and help you understand how long you have to file a claim.
Contact a Gender Identity Discrimination Lawyer in Washington
If you’ve experienced gender discrimination in Washington State, attorney Kristi Favard can help you seek the compensation you deserve. Discriminating against transgender employees is a violation of Washington state law, and federal law in some cases. The sooner you reach out to an experienced employment lawyer, the better. Contact Sapphire Legal, PLLC today to schedule your initial consultation to learn more about how we can advocate for you.