It can be frustrating to have to defend your organization against what you consider frivolous claims. Unfortunately, that’s just another cost of doing business. As the following case shows, even when you win the case and thought it should never have been filed, you probably won’t persuade a court to penalize the employee by having him pay your legal fees.
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By now, most employers are familiar with the list of categories protected from employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act: race, color, religion, national origin and sex. Other federal anti-discrimination laws add additional protected categories to the list: disability (ADA), age (Age Discrimination in Employment Act), pregnancy (Pregnancy Discrimination Act) and genetic information (Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act). Absent is any mention of sexual orientation or gender identity.
While there is growing acceptance of same-sex marriage and homosexuality in the United States, being transgender is still not a protected status under federal law. That may be changing in the coming years, but there is as yet nothing preventing a Texas employer from discriminating against a transgender applicant or employee, as the following case shows.