DOJ Declares ‘Transgender Bathroom Bill’ Violates Federal Laws

Posted on 5 May 2016 |

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transgender bathroom laws

In a letter released May 4, 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) confirms Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 (Title IX), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), and the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 (VAWA)prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals, even specifying that bathroom policies preventing people from using the bathroom consistent with gender identity are a violation of federal law.

The letter reminds higher education institutions that federal laws include gender identity as part of sex-based discrimination and that transgender students must be treated consistent with their gender identity, just as non-transgender students are.

Upcoming Webinar Addressing These Discriminatory Bathroom Bills

Many campuses around the country have already taken steps to ensure they are not only following the law, but putting policies in place to assist transgender individuals on campus. And to learn more about how your campus can support transgender people who face fines and imprisonment for using the restroom, you can register for our upcoming webinar with Dr. Lisa McBride, Chief Diversity Officer at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Dr. McBride, along with Sondra Solovay Esq., Vice President of Content at Campus Answers, will discuss the legality of the recent string of bathroom laws being passed around the country in addition to the best ways campuses can respond to these laws. Plus, they will cover additional diversity hot topics such as hiring diverse candidates and responding to harassment and bullying directed at a particular group.

Training Course to Educate Faculty & Staff on EEO Laws

As far as federal guidance, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has already weighed in and stands behind protecting transgender individuals from discrimination. The EEOC states that the protected class of sex can include pregnancy, sexual orientation and gender identity.

In fact, the EEOC issued guidance on how employers can best follow federal anti-discrimination laws—in particular when it comes to restroom access:

  • Denying an employee equal access to a common restroom corresponding to the employee's gender identity is sex discrimination.
  • An employer cannot condition this right on the employee undergoing or providing proof of surgery or any other medical procedure.
  • An employer cannot avoid the requirement to provide equal access to a common restroom by restricting a transgender employee to a single-user restroom instead. (The employer can make a single-user restroom available to all employees who might choose to use it.)

To educate your campus on these policies, Campus Answers offers a course focusing on trans/transgender and gender identity concerns: Transition to Respect. Within the course, learners are exposed to:

  • Cultural competency tips & understandable, detailed definitions.
  • History and best practices regarding bathroom policies.
  • Practice in pronoun usage and tips for avoiding misgendering.
  • Instructions for navigating on-the-job gender transitions.
  • Sample workplace gender change announcement.

To learn more about the course, click here to request a demo.

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