Labor Department Stalls on Trans Discrimination Review
BY Parker Marie Molloy
June 04 2014 1:56 PM ET
More than two years after the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act should be interpreted to protect transgender workers, the U.S. Department of Labor appears to have taken few — if any — steps toward concluding whether or not transgender federal contractors are, in fact, protected from discrimination.
BuzzFeed's Chris Geidner has repeatedly requested an update on the matter, reaching out to Labor Department officials regarding the supposedly ongoing review. Earlier this week, BuzzFeed reported the resuls of a records request, finding that the Labor Department "has yet to begin in earnest its review of transgender worker protections despite repeated claims by Secretary Tom Perez that it is underway."
In February, Sec. Perez announced that the issue was under review, and the following month, elaborated, saying, "It is under review. It continues to be under review, and I'm in charge of it."
BuzzFeed's request, filed under the Freedom of Information Act, for all documents related to the 2012 Macy v. Holder case, ranging from April 20, 2012 to April 23 of this year, turned up little information. The lone document matching the request records was a three-page letter to 19 members of Congress, with one half of a paragraph dedicated to the issue, reading, "That review is ongoing."
While both the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Justice have issued statements supporting Title VII's inclusion of trans protections, citing sex discrimination grounds, the Labor Department remains elusive on the issue, refusing to take a clear stand.
In April, the U.S. Department of Education issued its own clarification on trans inclusion in Title IX's sex discrimination protections, confirming that trans and gender-nonconforming students are covered by the existing federal law which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex or gender, which the agency confirmed extends to gender identity or presentation.