Recently, the federal Office of Personnel Management (“OMP”) released a guidance change that, once again, attacks the rights of transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (“TGNCI”) individuals. This policy change eliminates protections, formulated under the Obama administration, that explicitly prohibit federal employers from discriminating on the basis of gender identity and expression in the workplace. In its place, the OPM issued new generic guidance that does not mention TGNCI protections or TGNCI folks specifically.
In short, the new policy removes language protecting your right to express your gender identity—whether through physical appearance or preferred pronouns. However, it must be noted, as with many of the Trump administration’s policies, that this change applies only to people employed by the federal government. This policy does not affect you if you work for New York City, New York State agencies, or non-governmental entities. All state and local laws and policies remain in place. All non-federal employers must still use your preferred pronouns, and you have the right to express yourself in a way that aligns with your gender identity. In addition, despite recent moves by the Trump administration, federal Title VII protections remain in place. Please contact the New York City Commission on Human Rights for more information.
If your employer tells you that you must wear the wrong clothing or use the wrong pronouns, they are engaging in illegal conduct. If this happens to you, please reach out to the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (“SRLP”). Not only does this help SRLP track which employers are engaging in discriminatory practices, SRLP can also provide legal assistance and referrals. Now, as ever, we must stand and support each other during this particularly traumatic time.