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A Message from EEOC Chair Charlotte A. Burrows for 2022 Transgender Day of Remembrance

On November 20, our nation will observe Transgender Day of Remembrance – a somber occasion to honor those who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence and to raise awareness about the harassment, discrimination, and violence that transgender people continue to experience. The Human Rights Campaign reports that, so far this year, more than 30 transgender people in the United States have been shot or killed by other violent means with many of these victims being transgender women of color. Last year was the deadliest year on record for members of these communities with more than 50 reported violent killings of transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming people in the United States. Tragically, the real number of victims is likely to be much higher because too often these deaths are unreported or misreported.

At the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), we play a critical role in protecting transgender workers against discrimination and harassment, including verbal threats and physical attacks. Our recently released poster, entitled “Know Your Rights: Workplace Discrimination is Illegal,” makes clear to millions of employees in covered workplaces around the country that discrimination based on gender identity is a form of sex discrimination. The EEOC’s commitment to that legal principle is longstanding and steadfast. In the last fiscal year alone, the EEOC recovered nearly $1 million in monetary relief in cases involving an allegation of discrimination based on gender identity. 

Additionally, the laws that the EEOC enforces may protect individuals who experience violence outside the workplace. A decade ago, the EEOC published a technical assistance document that describes, for example, how applying sex-based stereotypes about who can be “true victims” of violence may violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The document also explains how the protections of the Americans with Disabilities Act may apply to employees with impairments resulting from violence. I encourage employers and employees alike to familiarize themselves with the legal protections described in that technical assistance document and apply them in America’s workplaces.

On this year’s Transgender Day of Remembrance, the EEOC honors the precious lives lost to anti-transgender violence and reiterates our commitment to promoting safety and inclusion for transgender individuals as we continue to advance equal employment opportunities for all people.