Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Protecting Transgender Employees

Crain's New York Business news, lists, rankings, directory and more

As reported in Crain's New York Business, the New York City Commission on Human Rights is putting the pressure on employers to revise their employee policies in order to protect this population. While many companies lack specific protections for transgender workers, an increasing number are now confronting the issue.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights issued a code of conduct in December spelling out exactly how employers should treat transsexuals, cross-dressers and other transgender people. The guidelines, which elaborate on a 2002 city law, address issues such as restroom accommodations.

In recent weeks, City Comptroller William Thompson has been leaning on many companies--including Toys “R” Us, Cerner Corp. and Delta Air Lines--to write protections for transgender workers into their corporate policies. The city's unions are major shareholders in many large national companies, and the comptroller helps determine city pension funds' investments.

So far, Cerner and Toys “R” Us have agreed, and the comptroller will raise the issue at Delta's shareholders meeting in Atlanta this Thursday. Mr. Thompson plans to get aggressive with companies that don't comply.

Education is the first step. The article describes the transition of Mark Stumpp who underwent a sex-change operation and eventually returned to his role as Chief Investment Officer at Prudential. During his absence, his co-workers were briefed on his operation and as a result, he was welcomed back with support and understanding. Paulina Park, transgender advocate, explained that companies can sustain a gender transition with less controversy when managers educate their employees.

To read the full article, click here.

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