Know Your Rights:TransgenderEmployment Law
An information and resource publication for transgender employees in California
Will an employer Who runs a backgroundcheck find out that i am transgender?
It is very difcult in this day and age for a personto remain “stealth.” This is because employers mayhave access to databases tied to a person’s socialsecurity number, which may contain information
about previous name and gender information.
For background checks, California law prohibits
any non-job-related inquiries made by potential
employers. Employers who are conducting a back
ground check must provide you with written noticethat it is being performed, and upon completion of the investigation, provide you with a copy.
can a potential employer vieW my medicalrecords?
No. In California, medical records arecondential and there are only a few instanceswhere they can be released without your knowl
edge or consent – such as if your potential jobduties are related to your anatomy. In most cases,medical records are strictly protected by HIPAAand other privacy laws.
can a potential employer ask my old em-ployer about my transgender status?
No. Apotential employer’s inquiries can only be aboutjob performance-related topics. Moreover,California law prohibits employers from intention
ally interfering with a former employee’s attemptto nd a job by giving out false information.
does my employment-offered health insur-ance have to cover transition-related care?
general, insurance companies offer plans thatcover all kinds of medical conditions and treat
ments, and an employer selects a plan with themost coverage and the lowest cost. This oftenmeans selecting plans that have lots of exclusions,and one of the most common exclusions is forprocedures related to gender transition.If your plan has such an exclusion, you likely willhave trouble getting coverage of your transition-re
lated care. If your plan does not have this exclusion,you may be able to obtain this care if it is pre-au
thorized or otherwise deemed medically necessaryby your doctor. If you have questions about yourinsurance coverage, you can call Transgender LawCenter.
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Photo credit: Allison Palitz© Transgender Law Center 2011
What can i do if i think i have beendiscriminated against on the basis of mygender identity?
You may want to make a complaint to youremployer through an internal complaint process.This gives the employer a chance to stop thediscrimination before it becomes worse. It alsocreates a record that the employee tried toresolve the situation before seeking legal action.You also may want to make a complaint to theCalifornia Department of Fair Employment andHousing (DFEH). A person must le a complaintwith the DFEH before they can sue their employ
er for discrimination. In general, the DFEH will
interview the employee about what happened
and may assign an investigator to contact theemployer. Please keep in mind that a complaintmust be led with the DFEH within one yearfrom the last act of discrimination. Contact theDFEH at 800.884.684 or www.dfeh.ca.gov.You may also want to make a complaint to the
federal Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) if your employer has at least15 employees. To learn how to le an EEOCcomplaint visit www.eeoc.gov.Depending on where you live, you may also beable to le a complaint with your local humanrights agency.
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