Are Transgender Employees Protected Under New York Law?

Are Transgender Employees Protected Under New York Law?

Under the New York City human rights law discrimination against transgender people in the workplace is prohibited. The Commission on Human Rights has defined gender as your gender identity, self-image, behavior, expression. Whether or not that identity, that behavior, that expression, differs from what's traditionally associated with the sex assigned to you at birth. That human rights law gives them certain important rights in the workplace, such as if you're a transgender male you have the right to be referred to as him, he, his. If you're transgender female, you have the right to be called she, her.

It's also prohibited for an employer to require transgender employees to use single occupancy bathrooms. An employer cannot require their employees to prove their gender identity with medical documents or a court order as a condition for referring to them as the proper gender pronoun. At Phillips & Associates, I speak to a lot of clients who are suffering from these issues at work. People that are not quite sure if there's violations of the law going on at work. I hope you'll call us up if you're having that feeling that your rights are being infringed upon because maybe we can help you.

Transgender Discrimination Attorneys Assisting New York City Residents

Gender involves your actual or perceived sex, as well as your appearance, behavior, expression, identity, and self-image. Transgender people often face severe discrimination in the workplace and in other settings. The Transgender Rights Bill was enacted in New York City to make it clear that violating a transgender employee’s rights based on gender identity or gender expression is a violation of the New York City Human Rights Law. At Phillips & Associates, our New York City transgender discrimination lawyers can help transgender employees protect their rights under New York law.

Are Transgender Employees Protected Under New York Law?

Sometimes a person's identity, expression, self-image, or behavior veers away from what is stereotypically associated with the sex assigned to them at birth. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, it is unlawful to discriminate against transgender people in the workplace. The Commission on Human Rights has defined gender as including gender expression, gender identity, gender self-image, and gender behaviors.

Which Protections Do I Have?

The Human Rights Law provides specific rights in the workplace. It is illegal to refuse to hire, to fire, or to refuse to promote someone due to that person’s actual or perceived gender, including the person’s actual or perceived status as someone who is transgender. It is illegal for an employer to set different terms for a transgender person's employment because that person is transgender. For example, you may not be denied certain employee benefits offered to other similar employees because you are transgender. Similarly, you may not be denied a particular assignment because you are transgender.

You may be able to recover damages by bringing a lawsuit under the New York City Human Rights Law if you are subject to discrimination or harassment due to your gender identity or expression.

Names and Pronouns

An employer may not require you to prove your gender identity with a court order or medical documents, and it may not condition how it refers to you according to these documents. You are entitled to be called by the name and pronoun that you prefer. If you are a transgender male, you have the right to be called "him" or "he," while if you are a transgender female, you have the right to be called "her" or "she."


Another important right that is provided under the New York City Human Rights Law is that employers may not require transgender employees to use single-occupancy bathrooms. Under the New York City Human Rights Law, you are entitled to use single-sex bathrooms or locker rooms and participate in a single-sex program based on your gender, regardless of which sex you were assigned at birth or which sex is stated on your identification.

Your employer may not deny you the ability to use a facility because customers or others object to sharing the facility. However, your employer does not need to make its existing bathrooms all-gender or build additional bathrooms.

Conforming to Sex Stereotypes

Your employer may not expect you to conform to sex stereotypes or simplifications of how people of a particular sex are supposed to act or dress or look. Your employer may not expect you to communicate your gender to others in certain ways because of the sex that you were assigned at birth or require you to conform to stereotypical ideas about masculinity and femininity. 


As a transgender person, you should be able to go to work without being subjected to harassment based on your gender expression or identity. While a single offhand remark may not rise to the level of harassment, for many transgender people, harassment occurs quite frequently on the job.

Consult a New York City Lawyer for a Transgender Discrimination Claim

At Phillips & Associates, we speak to many clients who suffer from issues related to their identity as transgender people. Many people are not sure whether their rights are being violated. If you believe that your rights as a transgender person might have been infringed in the workplace, you should call us. Our experienced New York City attorneys can advise you on protections available to transgender employees. Contact us online or at (212) 248-7431 for a free appointment with a wrongful termination lawyer or representation in another type of claim. We battle employment discrimination in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as Suffolk, Nassau, and Westchester Counties and New Jersey.

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New York NY, 10006
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