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Are transgender people protected from discrimination?

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If you are employed in California as a transgender individual, or you know a transgender employee, you may be wondering if there are any protections against discrimination. Business & Legal Resources states that the California Fair Employment and Housing Act protects people from discrimination on the basis of breastfeeding, childbirth, pregnancy and related medical conditions.

This act also protects people from discrimination against sexual orientation, gender expression, gender identity, gender, sex and marital status.

How the state defines gender identity

Under state code, a person’s gender identity is his or her internal understanding of his or her gender, which may include a gender different from the sex assigned at birth, and may be male, female, neither or a combination. If you fit this description, then it is illegal for your employer to discriminate against you on the basis of the way you express your gender identity, and you may not be fired on the basis of your gender identity.

How the state defines gender expression

Gender expression is your gender-related behavior and appearance, which may or may not be associated with your assigned sex at birth. Unless a business necessity is established by your employer, they may not impose a dress code on you that is inconsistent with your gender identity or expression.

If a dress code that is inconsistent with your gender expression or identity is necessary to the business’s safe and efficient operation, your employer may still be able to hold you to that requirement. If you feel you have been discriminated against on the basis of gender or any of the protected statuses listed above, you may wish to raise this issue with your employer’s human resources department or with the appropriate state agency.