Under the EEOC’s ruling, lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and applicants are declared as a protected class. An employer who will fail to hire LGBT or will subject employees to employment discrimination based on gender identity is more likely to face sanctions.
Advocates are grateful for the said ruling. Said decision is a notable one since the agency is the very first government partner in interpreting and enforcing a nationwide employment rights law.
The ruling was motivated by the case of a woman named Mia Macy, who originally applied as a male at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive (ATF), but later on underwent a sex change.
In her lawsuit, Macy claimed that she was not hired by the bureau due to her gender switch. The bureau denied the allegations and said that funding for the job position was cut. However, Macy later discovered that another applicant was hired for the same job position.
Macy initially filed a complaint at the ATF but Macy’s complaint was declined since provisions under the federal laws do not cover transgender employees and applicants like Macy.
Based on the EEOC’s definition of gender, the term covers not just the biological sex of a person but also the cultural and social aspects collaborated with masculinity and feminity.
Although the agency’s ruling does not actually determine if Macy suffered gender discrimination in the workplace, she can still file a discrimination charge based on the provisions.
Although advocates praised the agency’s ruling, some family oriented groups are disappointed, saying that the agency has misinterpreted the provisions stated at the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Now that LGBT was covered by the federal laws’ protected class, victims of gender discrimination in the workplace like Macy have all the legal rights to file for a claim. Definitely, members of the LGBT class would never have to worry anymore about being abused in the workplace.