Law Offices of Lauren Abrams blog

Discrimination laws and bathrooms

Transgender awareness and the rights of LGBTQ individuals has increased remarkably in recent years. This is especially true in California. Transgender individuals face discrimination, which has forced a redefining of what is considered sexual discrimination and how both biological sex and gender fit as protected classifications.

One such case involved a school police officer who was beginning to transition from female to male. He requested to be able to use the male bathroom. His supervisors denied his request, forcing him to use only single-use or gender neutral bathrooms. They cited complaints from other staff as the reasoning for this.

In response to this issue and several other issues related to his gender identity, the officer filed a lawsuit claiming sexual discrimination. The court found in favor of the officer and gave an important definition to protections under Title VII. The court cited several precedents that extended the protections of Title VII not just to biological sex but also to gender stereotypes. In other words, it is unlawful to discriminate against someone just because they do not follow regular societal norms related to gender. This essentially upholds and extends protections under the law to transgender individuals.

Although the law often favors employees and transgender individuals in such civil rights cases, there is still a great deal of interpretation to be made. Especially surrounding issues with bathroom usage, other laws may come into play such as the right to a safe and non-hostile workplace. An employee that is being forced by an employer to act according to gender stereotypes whether in terms of bathroom usage, work roles, dress code or similar aspects may decide to contact an attorney. A lawyer may be able to file a discrimination lawsuit against the employer. The purpose of such a lawsuit is usually to enforce the protections of the law and the end the employer's discriminatory practices.

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