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Wage Watch: Justice Department takes tougher stance on transgender discrimination

Barack ObamaBarack Obama
Surrounded by LGBT supporters, President Barack Obama signs executive orders to protect LGBT employees from federal workplace discrimination at the White House on July 21, 2014.Photograph by Jacquelyn Martin — AP

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced last week that, from now on, the Department of Justice will consider discrimination against transgender people covered by the sex discrimination prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The announcement is a reversal for the department and means that it can sue government employers for discriminating against employees or job candidates for being transgender. (The DOJ does not have authority sue private employers; that power falls to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.)

In September, the EEOC filed its first transgender discrimination lawsuits and in July President Barack Obama issued an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against workers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.