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Monday, October 19, 2015

Transgender Workers Are Protected

 New Jersey transgendered persons and transsexuals are protected from employment discrimination under both statute and case law. Discrimination based on gender identity and gender expression is prohibited. 

Kroger, which is the largest U.S. supermarket chain, now offers its transgender workers full health benefits as reported by Forbes. Kroger is the fifth largest private employer in the country and has over 400,000 workers on its payroll as reported by Forbes. Kroger has 19 stores in New Jersey and has more than 2,500 stores in the United States.

When the American Psychiatric Association released an updated edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, it replaced "Gender Identity Disorder" with “Gender Dysphoria” and the APA changed the criteria for diagnosis. 

The necessity of a psychiatric diagnosis for Gender Dysphoria is still being debated because medical doctors and psychiatrists both recommend individualized medical treatment through hormones and/or surgeries to treat it. However, advocates for transgendered persons often want Gender Dysphoria to be included to facilitate for employees’ and other’s medical insurance that covers the necessary treatments recommended for transgender persons.

As part of its employee health plan, Kroger now offers its transgender workers full health insurance benefits, including surgery and drug therapy for gender reassignment.

A NJ employee need not be receiving hormone therapy or have had surgery for sexual reassignment to be protected under the law from gender discrimination at work. The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination prohibits employment discrimination based not only on sex and sexual orientation, but also gender and gender expression. Transgender, gender identity or gender expression harassment and discrimination can occur to one who does not fit the stereo-typical notion of gender associated with sex, such as a male who has "feminine" characteristics, or  whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender. New Jersey recognizes hostile work environment claims in the context of gender stereotyping harassment.

Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law, represents employees throughout New Jersey in complex employment discrimination lawsuits. She accepts cases from all counties in Northern, Southern, and Central New Jersey and has locations in central, western and northern New Jersey to meet with clients. If you believe that you have been discriminated against due to gender identity or other protected characteristic, such as age, disability, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or national origin, or in retaliation for reporting what you believed to be illegal acts of your employer, she can help you. It is important to know your rights as an employee. 

Contact Hope A. Lang, Attorney at Law, for a free consultation.

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