The Attorney General of the United States, Eric Holder, recently put out a memo that can have huge implications for transgender workers in California and all across the United States. According to the document, an interpretation of existing laws on the federal level now means that transgender individuals cannot be discriminated against in any workplace setting.

This is similar to the provisions against discrimination on a grounds of race, age, religion and the like.

While some may say this has already been done, it is important to note that the Civil Rights Act did not already offer this protection. It is true that Title VII does make sex discrimination illegal, but the federal government had, in past cases, said that this was not aimed at stopping discrimination against transgender individuals. Instead, it applied to classic cases, such as refusing to hire a woman to do a job that she was qualified for, for example, and instead hiring a man.

The government has now abandoned this position, giving the Justice Department more power in cases that involve transgender individuals. Advocates who have been fighting for these equal rights are thrilled by the change in policy. Even though the law that is on the books is the same, the new interpretation gives it a much broader scope than it had before.

Have you suffered from employment discrimination of any kind? As this change to the law shows, the government is dedicated to stopping discrimination on any basis, and, if you were subjected to it, your rights may have been violated. Be sure that you know what legal options you have.

Source: KQED, “Transgender Government Workers Now Explicitly Protected by U.S. Law” Lisa Pickoff-White and Tara Siler, Dec. 19, 2014