Late last week, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that the Department of the Army engaged in discrimination against a transgender veteran. A prominent Washington newspaper reported that the Counsel determined that the Army was discriminating against a transgender individual who transitioned from male to female.
Apparently, the individual was working as a software specialist for the Army in 2010 when she transitioned from male to female. During this transition, the Army put restrictions on which restrooms she could use, insulted her, and refused to give her work.
The victim filed a lawsuit in 2012 and explained that the restrictions had isolated her and segregated her from the rest of her employees. Furthermore, an investigation found that her gender transition did not have any negative impact on her work or other employees’ productivity. Fortunately, after this suit the Army has implemented training to ensure that no further discrimination occurs in the form of diversity and sensitivity training.
Discrimination by the Federal Government
In July 2014, President Obama signed an order that serves to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender employees from workplace discrimination. This executive order applies to employees of the federal government and federal contract workers. It explains that federal employers cannot terminate or harass individuals on the basis of their gender identify or sexual orientation.
Kentucky Workplace Discrimination
Currently, non-federal employees in Kentucky are given some protections from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identify. A Kentucky executive order explains that Kentucky must provide equal employment opportunity to people and not engage in discrimination because of race, religion, sex, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, ancestry, age, veteran status, age, or disability.
Examples of Workplace Discrimination
Kentucky law prohibits the discrimination by a qualified employer against a qualified employee based on the protected characteristics mentioned above. Examples of discrimination include things such as:
- Promoting certain individuals based on race or sex, but demoting or failing to promote others based on the same characteristics.
- Mandating tests that are not related to the job. Tests are generally allowed if they are administrated in a neutral manner and are not discriminatory.
- Paying individuals less than others because of their status.
- Segregating individuals based on their race.
Furthermore, an employer cannot discriminate against an individual by unlawfully firing him or her if the individual makes a valid discrimination claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is considered retaliation and may be considered discrimination.
Have You Been a Victim of Discrimination by Your Employer?
If you or a loved one has been a victim of discrimination by your employer, you may be entitled to a series of benefits. Employment discrimination suits can often be time-sensitive and require a significant amount of research and investigation. The timelines are strictly adhered to and can include notifying a number of parties. It is important that you contact a diligent and experienced Kentucky attorney to increase your chances of success. You may be entitled to back pay, retroactive pay, and even reinstatement, based on the circumstances of your discrimination. Contact an attorney at Miller and Falkner today at 502-583-2300 to set up your free initial consultation.
Seventh Circuit Overturns Lower Court Ruling on Indiana Title VII Prison Case, Kentucky Employment Lawyer Blog, August 8, 2014.
EEOC Equal-Pay Case Dismissed for Lack of Specific Information Regarding Pay Discrepancies, Kentucky Employment Lawyer Blog, October 13, 2014