This is kind of a big deal, as EEOC ruling (employment protection) to transgendered people under the ruling of Title VII in the United States. Until now, there has been no uniform guidance on what is considered discrimination towards transgendered people in the professional workplace, unless the state or local ordinances had provided it.
Because of that, it's very typical for transgendered people to not be hired and/or to be let go for not conforming to gender standards. (For transsexuals, this means that even those who still fit within the normal gender spectrum of their identified gender could still be discriminated against just because of a gender they formerly presented as.)
It should be noted that this is more a solidification of a position the courts have been increasingly taking over the last twenty years, rather than something being newly introduced. [Just 2-3 years ago, the IRS also declared that surgery expenses for reassignment, as long as indicated by the casework, was deductible as a medical expense. And the Federal Gov already protects against gender identity discrimination internally.] It just has never been officially clarified by the EEOC before. So transgenders who were discriminated against / were fired simply for being trans vs their professional abilities and behavior had little recourse under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act to sue for damages or reinstatement of their position. Now that option exists, just as it would for anyone being dismissed for alleged sexism. The court is asserting that gender should have no bearing whatsoever on someone's hiring or dismissal.
The most thorough/informative article right now I've seen on it and its interlocking with ENDA, exploration of past precedent that has led to this decision, etc., can be found at Metro Weekly:In an email to The Times, EEOC spokeswoman Christine Nazer wrote that the ruling is now "the EEOC's position, and we will apply it in all our enforcement activities" under Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, which prohibits job discrimination based on race, sex, religion and national origin.
Article about Mia & Trish Macy:In today's opinion, the EEOC concludes that the case is properly before it and that, consistent with the overwhelming trend of federal courts, the ATF conclusion was incorrect.
''When an employer discriminates against someone because the person is transgender, the employer has engaged in disparate treatment related to the sex of the victim,'' the decision states. ''This is true regardless of whether an employer discriminates against an employee because the individual has expressed his or her gender in a non-stereotypical fashion, because the employer is uncomfortable with the fact that the person has transitioned or is in the process of transitioning from one gender to another, or because the employer simply does not like that the person is identifying as a transgender person.''