Are there laws that protect against gender identity-based employment discrimination? Yes. The Oregon Equality Act protects against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. Sexual orientation, by its legal definition, includes gender identity and “appearance, expression, or behavior” that differs from that traditionally associated with the person’s gender assigned at birth. The act offers protections for freedom from harassment while working, freedom from discrimination in employment decisions, and right to accommodation in the workplace.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) is the agency in charge of implementing the law. BOLI defines “gender identity” to mean “an individual’s gender-related identity, whether or not that identity is different from that traditionally associated with the individual’s assigned sex at birth, including, but not limited to, a gender identity that is transgender or androgynous.” BOLI has also defined “gender expression” to mean “the manner in which an individual’s gender identity is expressed, including, but not limited to, through dress, appearance, manner, or speech, whether or not that expression is different from that traditionally associated with the individual’s assigned sex at birth.”
If you have a discrimination complaint, first contact your Human Resources Department. If you do not have an HR department or are unsure how to report your complain, BOLI will receive complaints and investigate allegations of violations of the Oregon Equality Act. You may also contact an attorney directly. You have one year to either file a BOLI complaint or file a civil complaint in court, starting from when the discrimination or harassment begins.
To file a BOLI complaint, click here.
To learn more about the rights of transgender Oregonians under the law, please click here.