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New law about bathroom use affects transgender people

by | Mar 29, 2016 | Firm News, workplace discrimination |

Some Pennsylvania residents have likely heard about a new law in North Carolina that some say limits the rights of transgender people. In March, the governor of North Carolina signed a bill that will require students at universities and public schools to use bathrooms assigned to the same gender that is written on their birth certificates. The law also prevents city and county governments from enacting legal protections for gay and transgender people at stores, restaurants and hotels.

Though it is legal for people to update their birth certificates following a sex change, opponents of the North Carolina law say that it will put many transgender people in an uncomfortable position. A female-to-male transgender student at the University of North Carolina Greensboro said that he used men’s restrooms and locker rooms before the law was passed. Because he has not yet updated his birth certificate, he will have to use female restrooms where he may experience verbal and physical assaults from women.

Soon after the transgender bathroom law was passed, opponents of the law filed a lawsuit challenging the law on the grounds that it is discriminatory to LGBT people. Some legal experts have said that the lawsuit is likely to end up being decided by the Supreme Court. On March 28, the governor of North Carolina said that he stands by the bathroom law and the outspoken opposition to the law is a campaign to discredit his state.

Transgenders who have been harassed at work for using the bathroom that aligns with their gender identity may want legal assistance in pursuing a claim for damages. The EEOC has taken the position that workplace discrimination based upon gender identity is prohibited under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and cases are winding their way through the federal court system on this issue.