California Employment Law: Discrimination of Transgender Employees

Updated: Apr 23

Employee rights for trans employees in California.


Transgender employees already face a lot of discrimination in the day-to-day, and facing the same challenges in their work environments is no exception. This type of discrimination can take the form of a wide range of offensive behaviors, such as workplace gossip and false rumors that specifically target and mock an employee's gender expression and identity. It may also include physical or sexual attacks, as well as mental or verbal abuse.

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If an employer makes decisions that willfully single-out or shows bias against an employee's gender identity, it already qualifies as Los Angeles employment discrimination.


While incidents of discrimination are so often easy to recognize, there are situations that you might be unsure about. Here are example scenarios:

  • Terminating a transgender employee's contract after the employer learns of the their gender identity or planned transition

  • Denying a transgender employee access to workplace restroom facilities available to all or other employees

  • Requiring a transgender employee to use a restroom that does not match the employee's gender identity, expression, or presentation

  • Harassing a transgender employee (whether sexually, verbally, or physically)

Discrimination based on gender identity is not specifically prohibited under federal law at this time, although there are attempts underway to pass federal legislation to make it so.

In certain cases, some courts interpret sex discrimination laws to include gender identity. In 18 states, state or local anti-discrimination authorities enact protections against gender identity discrimination.


Even More Scenarios:

  • Employees who identify as trans (or are considered to be trans) are not recruited.

  • After finding that a candidate is transgender, an employer decides to rescind a work offer.

  • Transgender workers are paid less than other employees.

  • Providing fewer benefits to transgender workers than to other employees.

  • Employees are not promoted based on their ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

  • Employing fewer skilled workers who identify as trans or LGBTQ+ over more qualified employees.

  • Employees who identify as trans are denied training, mentorship, or apprenticeship opportunities.

  • Using racial, sexist, or generally abusive words against trans people.

  • An employee is terminated because of their gender, gender identity, gender expression, or sexual preference.

If any of this happened to you at work, you might have been discriminated a