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Can My Employer Fire Me for Having Gender Affirmation Surgery?

May 23, 2022

Thanks to celebrities such as Caitlyn Jenner, the transgender community is getting more recognition than it ever had before. Many individuals who identify as transgender are emerging from the sidelines and taking their place in society and the workforce. Many are going for gender affirmation surgery whether their employers approve or not. As per anti-discrimination laws, employers cannot fire workers who want to affirm their gender through surgery. 

The Legal Framework Protecting Transgender Workers in the Workplace 

Transgender workers or employees who wish to undergo this procedure face an uphill battle. As per Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, employers cannot discriminate against their employees based on their race, color, national origin, and sex. This applies to employers with 15 or more workers, private organizations, the federal government, and local governments.

Employers Cannot Fire Employees for Getting Gender Affirmation Surgery 

As per a Supreme Court ruling in 2020, 'sex' covers sexual orientation and gender identity. This means that employers cannot discriminate against transgender workers and those who wish to undergo gender affirmation surgery today. 

Transitioning can be different for different people. What one person may deem medically necessary, another may not. For instance, some may only change their name or gender designation, while others may take hormones or undergo surgery to change their sexual characteristics. 

Gender affirmation surgery has often been discussed under Title VII and the Affordable Care Act. Some beneficiaries believe that these laws bar employers from discriminating against workers who change their gender identity.

Several laws have been enacted across the US that prohibit employers from retaliating against transgender employees, whether they come out before or after being hired. This means that if workers are fired after getting gender affirmation surgery, they can sue their employers no matter where their employer is headquartered. Workers who want to undergo gender discrimination surgery in Chicago are also protected. 

What Employers Can Do To Protect Transgender Workers 

In light of these laws and to ensure they don't get sued, employers should introduce policies and practices to ensure gender identities are protected. Some of these include the following:

Anti-discrimination policy 

Comply under Title VII and ensure gender indemnity and expression are protected in the workplace.

Dress code policy

Discourage gender stereotypes by forcing male employees to wear dress trousers and female employees to wear skirts. Employers who allow their workers to dress as per their gender expression can increase workplace morale.

Monitor state laws 

Employers should follow applicable state laws and look into federal laws regularly for changes, so they don't mistakenly discriminate against employees. 

Contact the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates

At the Law Office of Michael T. Smith & Associates, we understand that one size doesn't fit all when it comes to gender identity. If you were fired after getting gender affirmation surgery in Chicago, get in touch with us for a consultation as soon as possible. We can fight for your rights and hold your employer accountable for the damage they have caused. You shouldn't have to hide who you are because your employer doesn't accept different genders. We can ensure you get the compensation you deserve.