The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has determined that discrimination against an individual simply because they are transgender is considered unlawful discrimination and is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This means that employers cannot discriminate against job applicants or employees in the following ways:

  • Firing an employee because of gender identity or gender transition
  • Firing an employee for not conforming to the employer’s gender-based expectations, preferences, or stereotypes
  • Retaliating against workers who oppose or report discriminatory practices or file a complaint


Other adverse job actions prohibited under Title VII include prohibiting a transgender employee from using the appropriate bathroom for their gender identity (e.g. requiring a trans woman, a person who is transitioning from male to female, to use the men’s restroom); and persistent and purposeful use of a transgender employee’s former name or incorrect pronouns.

The EEOC accepts complaints from transgender people and has sued employers on behalf of transgender employees because of discrimination. Title VII protections apply to employers with 15 or more employees. These rights also apply to federal employees as well as federal contractors and their employees.

If you face discrimination, you have rights. We encourage you to share your story or file a complaint here.

More than 25% of transgender people have lost a job due to bias, and more than 75% have experienced some form of discrimination at work. This may mean harassment, privacy violations, or even violence on the job, which are all experienced at even higher rates by transgender people of color. Many transgender people face extreme levels of unemployment and poverty. 

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