In the Workplace: Legal Issues
Workplace discrimination has been litigated across most gender, social, and cultural lines; but case law in sexual minority discrimination is still in its infancy. This has been deliberately designed. The United States constitution originally painted a broad stroke for liberty, leaving to future generations the task of identifying cultural, social, and sexual changes as the times progressed. The concern of this paper is an examination of the issues of discrimination and legal remedies for transgendered persons. This paper will reflect on the legal implications for transsexuals in the workplace, examining both employees’ and consumers’ rights.
An article by John Cloud, in Time magazine, provides a starting point for consideration. In his article, A Transsexual vs. the Government, Mr. Cloud recounts the story of David Schroer, a former Special Forces colonel. (Cloud, 2008, p1). Schroer was recruited for the position of terrorism specialist for the Congressional Research Service. He was ready to assume his job when he made the decision to reveal to his superior that he intended to “…start living full time as a woman. He would also probably have sex-reassignment surgery. And so he planned to start at CRS as Diane Jacqueline Schroer, not David John Schroer.” (Cloud, 2008, p1). Schroer was terminated from the position and brought a lawsuit against the CSR.
The CSR was forthright in admitting that it had discriminated against Schroer because of her transsexual status. The agency could afford to be bold in its discrimination because “it’s not explicitly illegal to discriminate against the transgendered, because no federal law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity.” (Cloud, 2008, p3)
The legal dilemma facing the courts in landmark decisions such as this case is in the question, “What is sex?” In this case, an expert witness testified that
after all the...