Monday, April 3, 2023

We are failing our trans employees

"You're not a real man."
"Do you have female parts?"

Those are just two of the allegations the EEOC has raised in a lawsuit it just filed on behalf of Quinn Gambino, a transgender male, against his former employer, T.C. Wheelers Bar & Pizzeria.

The agency further alleges that management and co-workers made numerous other anti-transgender comments, including intentionally misgendering Gambino by using female pronouns and equating being transgender with pedophilia. 

The EEOC says that Gambino repeatedly complained to management about the almost daily harassment he suffered, and that he had no choice but to resign to escape the harassment.

Here's what EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows had to say about the filing of this lawsuit. 

This new lawsuit, filed one day before Transgender Day of Visibility, reflects the EEOC's longstanding commitment to protecting transgender persons from employment discrimination, including the type of egregious harassment alleged in this case. In the current climate, where transgender individuals face increasing attacks on their rights and basic humanity, the EEOC will vigorously enforce the Supreme Court’s holding in Bostock that discrimination against transgender workers violates the law.

The reality is that we are failing our trans employees. According to a Pew Research Center survey, 1.6% of U.S. adults identify as transgender or nonbinary, a number that more than triples to 5.1% for adults under the age of 30. Yet, according to a survey by Boston Consulting Group, only 29% of transgender and gender nonconforming employees are out at work. Worse yet, a shocking (and sad) 93% percent report being harassed at work or otherwise suffering a negative experience related to their gender identity at least once in the past 12 months. Moreover, two out of every three transgender and gender nonconforming employees report quitting a job because of their employer's lack of a supporting culture or policies.

This mistreatment and alienation is indefensible, appalling, and illegal. Everyone, regardless of their gender identity deserves to work in an environment free from harassment and other discrimination, period. Employers, we need to do much, much better. Tomorrow, I'll share some steps we can all take within our organizations to become more welcoming, open, and inclusive for our transgender and gender nonconforming employees.