Thursday, February 1, 2024

Whether you like it or not, it’s illegal to discriminate against transgender employees

“Do you have female parts?”
“You’re not a real man.”
“If I just say ‘she’, that’s what she is.”

Those are among the allegations that the EEOC made against T.C. Wheelers Bar & Pizzeria on behalf of Quinn Gambino, a transgender man the restaurant employed as a cook. Mr. Gambino complained to management about the harassment, but it continued unabated.

Quinn quit his employment after five months because the restaurant’s owners and his co-workers repeatedly and incessantly harassed him because of his status as a transgender man.

As a result, T.C. Wheelers will pay Mr. Gambino $25,000, will train all of its owners, managers, and employees on federal anti-discrimination employment laws, with a special emphasis on issues relating to gender identity and gender expression, and has hired an independent human resources monitor to supervise and investigate all workplace complaints.

According to EEOC District Director Yaw Gyebi, Jr., “The EEOC considers protecting members of the LGBTQIA+ community to be an important enforcement priority. We will continue to assure that transgender employees receive the full benefit of federal anti-discrimination laws in all industries.”

The law is clear that Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination also prohibits discrimination against transgender discrimination. I’m not going to tell you what to think. But I am going to tell you that if you personally disagree with the rights of transgender people to live their lives as transgender people, if you act on those thoughts at work, you are violating the law. The EEOC is watching. The LGBTQIA+ community is watching. Their allies are watching.