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Gender Identity and Gender Expression Claims

Discrimination Based on Gender Identity or Gender Expression Doesn’t Need to Be Tolerated

New Jersey has been at the forefront of protecting workers from discrimination on the bases of gender identity and/or gender expression.

While the Supreme Court of the United States only recently tackled the issue of whether gender identity and expression are protected under the law, New Jersey added gender identity and expression to its list of protected categories in 2006. Because of that amendment, it is unlawful for employers to refuse to hire, fire, or otherwise discriminate against employees on the bases of their gender identity or expression.

Unlike federal law, Title VII, the amendment to the Law Against Discrimination specifically provides protection to workers on the bases of gender identity and gender expression claims. As such, there is no need to argue about whether gender expression and/or gender identity is a form of gender discrimination.

What Does Gender Identity Mean?

Gender identity or expression, under the law, are defined as “having or being perceived as having a gender related identity or expression whether or not stereotypically associated with a person’s assigned sex at birth.”

Gender identity generally refers to a person’s own personal experience of their gender. What’s that mean? Well, while some people identify as either a man or woman, some people identify as neither a man nor a woman. Yet others may identify as both a man and a woman or between genders and yet others identify as not having a gender at all.

Regardless of how you may identify, the Law Against Discrimination protects you from discrimination or harassment on that basis.

How Is Gender Identity Different From Gender Expression?

Gender expression refers to how people show their gender outwardly and does not necessarily match gender identity. Also, while sometimes the way people express their gender is consistent with what is socially viewed as the norm for their gender, other times it is not. That means that someone who identifies as a man may dress in what is traditionally considered women’s clothing and vice-versa and/or people who identify as either gender may wear gender-neutral attire.

Are You Dealing With Discrimination Because of Your Gender Identity or Expression?

Unfortunately, gender identity and gender expression discrimination are two forms of discrimination that some supervisors and employers still feel comfortable engaging in blatantly even though it is against the law. If you are being or have been discriminated against because of the way in which you identify or express your gender, call the attorneys at Lenzo & Reis, LLC, at (973) 845-9922 because we not only regularly handle both gender identity discrimination and gender expression discrimination claims, but also because we stand firmly with the LGBTQ community. Our knowledgeable lawyers represent people in Morristown, Newark and Jersey City, and throughout New Jersey.

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