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Employment Law - Transgender Discrimination Thesis

Pages:8 (2180 words)




Document Type:Thesis


In fact, the argument could easily be made that individuals with transgender tendencies who do not pursue gender reassignment procedures are more prone to chronic depression and to other natural consequences of their repressed feelings about their true identities that could potentially affect their ability to fulfill their vocational obligations optimally (O'Neil, et al. 2008). Conversely, the evidence strongly supports the conclusion that transgender individuals who undergo the sex reassignment transition are fully capable of leading happy fulfilled lives and of performing at work without any detrimental effects directly attributable to their transgenderism (Nuttbrock, et al. 2008).

To the extent transgenderism is associated with psychological trauma and negative consequences that affect an employee's ability to perform at work, it is largely attributable to the negative attitudes, harassment, social exclusion, ridicule they often encounter from coworkers. Naturally, the same is true, perhaps even more so, to the extent transgenders' families reject them or subject them to feelings of shame and rejection (Nuttbrock, et al. 2002).

As a human resource issue, transgenderism need not be an issue that detracts from the fundamental worth of any employee. With very few exceptions, most vocational positions are equally suitable to males and females (ACLU 2006). Obviously, to the extent that either a male or a female is capable of performing satisfactorily in any particular vocational capacity, gender reassignment is completely irrelevant. On the other hand, because transgenderism so often triggers prejudicial even abusive interactions among coworkers, failure to provide appropriate leadership or to implement policies prohibiting such conduct may indeed result in disruption to the workplace environment.

Recommendations and Conclusion:

On the matter of legislation, the Supreme Court appears poised finally to redress the existing inadequacies of employment law that defines "sex" very narrowly with respect to discrimination issues. By rejecting the traditional view that gender identity is strictly a biological matter dictated by chromosomes, the Court has demonstrated at least a willingness to consider the arguments in favor of incorporating transgenderism within the larger framework of human gender and sexual identity.

Apart from the outcome of legal decisions, human resource managers would benefit their organizations by adopting the morally right approach demonstrated by various federal agencies and the nine states that have established anti-discrimination policies completely voluntarily with regard to transgender employees. This type of humanistic moral approach to employment issues has a long historical precedent in this country, going back as far as the underground railroad and the abolitionists who risked their lives prior to the American Civil War to undermine the unjust institution of slavery.

In more recent times, northern civil rights workers lost their lives in the pursuit of justice in southern states like Mississippi.

Contemporary American business is now faced with a similar dilemma capable of being redressed by just policies established voluntarily by human resource managers and business administrators even before anti-discrimination by virtue of transgenderism is included within the protections recognized by formal laws and acts of Congress.

Ultimately, this is more a matter of human morality and ethical values than a matter of formal legislation and government policy.


American Civil Liberties Union (2006) Federal Court Rules Transgender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Library of Congress Can Proceed. Retrieved July 3, 2008, at

Friedman, L. (2005) a History of American Law 3rd ed. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Gerrig, R, Zimbardo, P. (2005) Psychology and Life. 17th Edition.

New York: Allyn & Bacon.

Koch, K., Bales, R. (2008) "Transgender Employment Discrimination."

UCLA Women's Law Journal, Vol. 17, No. 2, Nuttbrock, L., Rosenblum, a., Blumenstein, R. (2002) Transgender Identity Affirmation and Mental Health National Development and Research Institutes (NDRI). Retrieved July 1, 2008 from:

O'Neil. M., McWhirter, E., Cerezo, a. (2008) Transgender Identities

And Gender Variance in Vocational Psychology: Recommendations for Practice, Social Advocacy, and Research; Journal of Career Development, Vol. 34, No. 3, 286-308. U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Retrieved, July 2, 2008,…

Sample Source(s) Used


American Civil Liberties Union (2006) Federal Court Rules Transgender Discrimination Lawsuit Against Library of Congress Can Proceed. Retrieved July 3, 2008, at

Friedman, L. (2005) a History of American Law 3rd ed. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Gerrig, R, Zimbardo, P. (2005) Psychology and Life. 17th Edition.

New York: Allyn & Bacon.

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