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EEOC rules transgender workers covered under Title VII

The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) [official website] has ruled [decision] that Title VII [text] employment discrimination protections extend to transgender individuals. The decision came as a result of an employment discrimination complaint filed by the Transgender Law Center (TLC) [advocacy website] on behalf of Mia Macy, a transgender woman who was denied a job as a ballistics technician at the Walnut Creek, California laboratory of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. The EEOC concluded that "intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination 'based on ... sex,' and such discrimination therefore violates Title VII." The TLC welcomed the decision [press release], calling it "a game changer for transgender America."

Transgender rights remain a controversial issue throughout the world. The US Supreme Court [official website] denied certiorari [order list, PDF] last month in Fields v. Smith [opinion, PDF], allowing a lower court decision that transgender hormone therapy is a medically necessary procedure to stand. The US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit found [JURIST report] the Inmate Sex-Change Prevention Act (Act 105) [text], a 2005 Wisconsin law, was unconstitutional under the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments. In February the UK Home Office Government Equalities Office [official website] announced the UK's first ever government action plan promoting transgender equality [JURIST report].

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