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Transsexuals gaining protection

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Rhode Island recently became the second state to protect transsexuals from employment bias, adding "gender identity or expression" to its anti-discrimination law. The law also covers "gender-related expression," which gives protection to cross-dressers.

Minnesota passed a similar law in 1993, and last year a state appeals court refused to throw out a case of a worker who claimed discrimination because she was not allowed to use the women's restroom. The worker was born male but took female hormones and identified herself as a woman. Other women in the workplace, however, objected to her using the same restroom, and she was ordered to use one of the single-occupancy restrooms in the lobby or a nearby building. (Goins v. West Group, No. CX-00-706, Minn. CA, 2000).

Since 1975, 30 cities and three counties also have passed laws that explicitly protect transgender people, according to the Transgender Law and Policy Institute.

A New Jersey court recently ruled that the state's anti-discrimination law covers transsexuals in prohibiting gender discrimination, and a gender disorder may be a disability protected by the law. The case involved a male doctor who lost his job after beginning the transition to a female. (Enriquez v. West Jersey Health Systems, Nos. A-2017-99T5 and A-5581-99T5, Superior Ct. of N.J., 2001)

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