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A local government agency and national nonprofit today published what they call a “first-of-its kind” guide for employers on making workplaces more accommodating to transgender people.
The D.C. Office of Human Rights and the National LGBTQ Task Force created the brief to educate businesses and organizations on best practices for hiring and respecting the trans community. More than 90 percent of transgender people “have experienced harassment in the workplace due to their gender identity,” the authors note, “and at least 47 percent said they experienced an adverse job outcome” like being rejected for a job they’re qualified for. (Read about a separate report OHR did on that latter topic last year.)
While jurisdictions like the District have long recognized trans rights—at least as a matter of law—the guide comes as states like North Carolina have become ground zero in recent months for the legal and cultural fight over trans equality. According to OHR and the task force, 19 states and D.C. have explicit protections based on gender identity and expression against discrimination in workplace settings.
“In the District of Columbia we are fortunate to have a strong law that prohibits employment discrimination against transgender people,” OHR Director Mónica Palacio says in a statement. “Yet many times employers that want to create welcoming environments are unsure of how best to do that.”
Among the guide’s recommendations are maintaining confidentiality with trans applicants and employees, using the pronoun that corresponds with a person’s gender identity, training coworkers to be LGBTQ-competent, and ensuring access to restrooms for trans people. “The restroom or other gender-segregated facility a transgender employee uses should be a decision made solely by the transgender employee,” the guide outlines. “At times a transitioning employee may not feel comfortable using the restroom of the gender they are transitioning to until they reach a certain point in their transition. Similarly, someone who identifies as non-binary may want to use a specific restroom because they are most comfortable with it, regardless of their personal appearance.” The guide includes a “sample scenarios.”