In the wake of the May 2016 “Dear Colleague Letter on Transgender Students,” is your institution up to speed on its potential legal obligations to transgender applicants, students and employees? Are you keeping track of the legal battles being waged around the country on restroom and facility access rights and how your institution may be affected? When faced with a transgender applicant, a gender transition, or other equal access and treatment issues, is your institution equipped to navigate the situation lawfully and sensitively?
While much of the law surrounding transgender rights is still evolving, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights made clear in its recent Dear Colleague Letter that it interprets Title IX to prohibit gender identity discrimination. Similarly, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission interprets Title VII to prohibit gender identity discrimination in employment. In addition, a minority of states have adopted state specific laws protecting students and/or employees from gender identity discrimination. Apart from these legal developments, higher education institutions are also feeling the impact of a growing movement to raise social awareness about and to promote inclusion for transgender individuals. As this movement grows and the law continues to evolve, institutions are likely to face increased demands for inclusivity along with challenges in accommodating the potentially conflicting political, religious and personal beliefs of campus community members.
It is critical for higher education institutions to ensure that they are familiar with the evolving societal and legal issues affecting their treatment of and potential legal obligations to transgender applicants, students and employees. Join us for our 90 minute “Transgender Students and Employees: A Legal Update” training session. This training is appropriate for Title IX coordinators and deputy coordinators, directors of admission, directors of housing or other facilities, deans of students, other key administrators, and human resources managers.