Gender Identity Discrimination NJ

New Jersey Gender Identity Expression Discrimination

New Jersey Lawyers Helping Gender Identity Discrimination Victims

You are protected from being discriminated against on the job in New Jersey based on your gender identity or gender expression. Gender identity or expression means having a gender-related identity or expression that may or may not be stereotypically associated with your assigned sex at birth. You are permitted to appear, groom, and dress at work in a way that is consistent with your gender identity or expression. If you are discriminated against based on your gender identity you should consult an experienced New Jersey employment discrimination attorney about the possibility of recovering damages.

Recognizing Gender Expression Discrimination

Gender identity or expression discrimination happens when an employer takes an adverse employment action against an employee based on their gender identity. The following are examples of gender identity discrimination:

  • Terminating a transgender employee because of a planned transition
  • Denying a transgender or genderqueer employee to use a restroom that is consistent with their gender presentation.
  • Refusing to reprimand employees who are harassing an employee for being transgender.
  • Harassing or making fun of an employee due to his or her gender expression

These types of discrimination are explicitly prohibited under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination and may also be covered under federal law.

Harassment in the Workplace

Harassment is a common problem that many transgender and genderqueer individuals face in and out of the workplace. It can include either extreme or frequent negative comments, slurs, jokes, physical touching, or groping based on an employee's gender identity or expression, so long as these words, gestures and actions would make a reasonable person believe the environment was hostile or offensive. No individual should be subject to harassment based on their gender presentation, identity, or decision to transition. This law does not apply only to individuals who identify as transgender or genderqueer; no matter a person’s gender identity or expression, discrimination on the basis of that identity or expression is prohibited.

Limited Application of Federal Law

While discrimination based on gender identity and expression aren't explicitly illegal under Title VII, the EEOC and courts have interpreted the prohibition against sex discrimination to encompass gender identity and expression discrimination. Title VII has caps on damages based on employer size, and only applies to larger employers. To pursue a Title VII claim, you need to file a charge with the EEOC and allow it to investigate before you file a lawsuit in federal court. In many cases of gender identity or gender expression discrimination, it is advisable to pursue your claim under the explicit protections provided by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination in state court.


Damages that may be available include reinstatement, injunctive relief, front pay, back pay, compensatory damages, emotional distress damages, punitive damages, and interest.


It takes courage to file a lawsuit against an employer based on gender identity discrimination or harassment. Many employees rightly fear that they will be terminated or subject to worse treatment because they complained about unfair treatment. However, under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) it is unlawful for your employer to retaliate against you for complaining of acts or practices prohibited under the law or for filing or participating in a proceeding under the law. It is also illegal to intimidate, threaten or interfere with someone who is exercising rights provided by the law or who is helping someone else to do so. Even if it turns out you were wrong about gender identity discrimination, you have the right to make a good-faith complaint without being retaliated against.

Consult Experienced New Jersey Gender Discrimination Lawyers

Your employer is not entitled to single you out or treat you differently for other employees because you are genderqueer, gender nonconforming, or transgender. The New Jersey sex discrimination attorneys of Phillips & Associates may be able to help you recover damages. Contact us at (866) 229-9441 or via our online form. We help clients in Passaic, Bergen, Morris, Essex, Union, Hudson, Somerset, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Burlington, and Camden Counties.

100 Overlook Center, 2nd Floor
Princeton, NJ 08540
Tel: (866) 229-9441

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