Knowledge of laws regarding transsexuals can be helpful – By Bill Clifton

Transsexualism is one of the more emotionally charged, convoluted areas of the law of sex discrimination. You might think it’s not your problem, but you’d be wrong.

Several employers in Middle Georgia already have confronted workplace issues involving transsexuals. A quick review of recent cases can help your business be prepared in the event you face this issue, too.

Recently, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the highest federal court in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, acknowledged that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transsexuals from discrimination on the basis of sexual identity. In the case, an employer fired a transsexual for being rude and unprofessional to customers and co-workers.

The transsexual alleged that she was discharged because of her sexual identity. The case was ultimately decided for the employer, but in the process the court acknowledged that Title VII protects transsexuals from discrimination. An employer in the Sixth Circuit cannot discriminate against a man who dresses or acts like a woman or who otherwise fails to act in accordance with society’s perception of his/her proper gender role.