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New Employer Resource to Help End Transgender Employment Discrimination

Monday, June 6, 2016


Elliot Imse
District of Columbia Office of Human Rights
[email protected]

Jorge Amaro
National LGBTQ Task Force
[email protected]

New Employer Resource to Help End Transgender Employment Discrimination

Washington, DC, June 6, 2016—The National LGBTQ Task Force and the District of Columbia (DC) Office of Human Rights today published a first-of-its-kind resource to help eliminate workplace discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming people. The guide, titled “Valuing Transgender Applicants and Employees,” provides in-depth best practices intended to help employers across the nation create a genuinely inclusive and welcoming workplace environment for transgender people.

“Everyone, including transgender people, deserves a fair chance at a good paying job and the ability to provide for themselves and their families,” said Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán, Trans/Gender Nonconforming Justice Project Director, National LGBTQ Task Force. “Transgender people face formidable discrimination and harassment in the workplace. This new resource provides vital recommendations for employers and human resource specialists looking to ensure that transgender people are treated with dignity and respect in the workplace.”

In the U.S., 90 percent of transgender people report experiencing harassment, discrimination and mistreatment in the workplace, according to the 2011 National Transgender Discrimination Survey report. In 2015, the DC Office of Human Rights report “Qualified and Transgender” revealed that 48 percent of tested employers that responded appeared to prefer at least one less-qualified applicant perceived as cisgender over a more-qualified applicant perceived as transgender.

“While many jurisdictions across the nation do not have explicit protections for transgender workers, in the District of Columbia we are fortunate to have a strong law that prohibits employment discrimination against transgender people,” said Mónica Palacio, Director of the DC Office of Human Rights. “Yet many times employers that want to create welcoming environments are unsure of how best to do that. We believe this best practices guide will be an important starting place for those employers that want to build transgender-inclusive workplaces.”
Currently, 19 states and DC have explicit workplace nondiscrimination protections based on gender identity and expression. Among the most progressive and comprehensive non-discrimination laws that include gender identity or expression is DC’s Human Rights Act (HRA).

“I strongly believe that ensuring all employees are treated with dignity and respect—including transgender employees—leads to a more productive, creative and happy workplace,” said Jay Haddock Ortiz, a DC-area business owner and President of Capital Hotels and Suites. “Adopting strong employment non-discrimination policies and creating transgender-inclusive workplaces is good for businesses and good for the country. I’m excited this new best practices guide can assist employers who want to build welcoming environments for transgender employees and all employees—creating a workplace of equal sensitivity to the lives of those we employ. Respect of an individual is the basis of any relationship, personal or business."

To read the entire report, please visit:


The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) was established to eradicate discrimination, increase equal opportunity and protect human rights for persons who live in or visit the District of Columbia. The agency enforces local and federal human rights laws, including the DC Human Rights Act, by providing a legal process to those who believe they have been discriminated against. OHR also proactively enforces human rights in the District through Director’s Inquiries, which allow it to identify and investigate practices and policies that may be discriminatory.

The National LGBTQ Task Force works to secure full freedom, justice and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people. For over forty years, we have been at the forefront of the social justice movement by training thousands of organizers and advocating for change at the federal, state, and local level.