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Transgender Inclusion and Non-Discrimination Policy

Introduction

This policy sets forth the position of The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation (collectively, the “Port Authority”) with respect to the treatment and inclusion of transgender employees. The Port Authority does not discriminate in any way on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The Port Authority classifies gender identity as a protected category as set forth in our Equal Employment Opportunity Policy and our Sexual Harassment Policy.

This policy addresses the needs of transgender and gender non-conforming employees and clarifies how the law should be implemented in situations where questions may arise about how to protect the legal rights or safety of such employees. This policy does not anticipate every situation that might occur with respect to transgender or gender non-conforming employees, and the needs of each transgender or gender non-conforming employee must be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In all cases, the goal is to ensure safety and a comfortable, and healthy development of transgender or gender non-conforming employees while maximizing the employee’s workplace integration and minimizing stigmatization of the employee. 

This policy does not purport to govern employees’ personal or religious beliefs but is about behaviors in the workplace, how we treat each other, and the expectation that we act with respect and professionalism toward every person. Failure to follow this policy will result in discipline, up to and including termination.

 

Eligibility

This policy applies to all Port Authority employees, job applicants, and contractors, each of whom is entitled to equal employment opportunities at the Port Authority. 

 

Definitions

The definitions provided here are not intended to label employees but rather to assist in understanding this policy. Employees may or may not use these terms to describe themselves.

Gender identity:  A person’s internal sense of being male, female, or something other or in-between, regardless of the sex they were assigned at birth.

Gender expression:  An individual’s characteristics and behaviors (such as one’s name, choice of pronouns, appearance, hairstyle, dress, mannerisms, speech patterns, and social interactions) that may be perceived as masculine or feminine.

Transgender:  An umbrella term that can be used to describe people whose gender identity and/or expression is different from their sex assigned at birth. 

  1. A person whose sex assigned at birth was female but who identifies as male is a transgender man.
  2. A person whose sex assigned at birth was male but who identifies as female is a transgender woman.
  3. Some people described by this definition don’t consider themselves transgender – they may use other words, or may identify simply as a male or female. A person does not need to identify as transgender in order for the Port Authority’s non-discrimination policies to apply to them.

Gender non-conforming:  This term describes people who have, or are perceived to have, gender characteristics and/or behaviors that do not conform to traditional or societal expectations. It is important to note that these expectations can vary across cultures and have changed over time.

Transition:  A term that may be used to describe the process of changing one’s gender from the sex assigned at birth to one’s gender identity. There are many different ways to transition. For some people, it is a complex process that takes place over a long period of time, while for others it is a one- or two-step process that happens more quickly. Transition may include “coming out” (telling family, friends, and coworkers); changing the name and/or sex on legal documents; and, for many transgender people, accessing medical treatment such as hormones and surgery. Not all transgender people take these steps.

 

Guidelines

Privacy:  Transgender employees have the right to discuss their gender identity or expression openly, or to keep that information private. The transgender employee gets to decide when, with whom, and how much to share their private information. Information about an employee’s transgender status (such as the sex they were assigned at birth) can constitute confidential medical information under privacy laws like HIPAA. Management, Human Resources staff, or coworkers should not disclose information that may reveal an employee’s transgender status or gender non-conforming presentation to others. If an employee (other than the transgender employee) believes that kind of personal or confidential information must be disclosed, they must first consult with the Chief Human Capital who will determine, in consultation with the General Counsel, whether such sharing is both lawful and appropriate. 

Official Records:  The Port Authority will change an employee’s official record to reflect a change in name or gender upon request from the employee. Certain types of records, like those relating to payroll, insurance coverage, and retirement accounts, may require a legal name change before the person’s name can be changed. Most records, however, can be changed to reflect a person’s preferred name without proof of a legal name change. A transgender employee has the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun corresponding to the employee’s gender identity. Official records will also be changed to reflect the employee’s new name and gender upon the employee’s request. As quickly as possible, we will make every effort to update any photographs at the transitioning employee’s workplace so the transitioning employee’s gender identity and expression are represented accurately. If a new or transitioning employee has questions about company records or ID documents, the employee should contact Service Delivery in the Human Resources Department.

Names/Pronouns:  An employee has the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun that correspond to the employee’s gender identity, upon request. A court-ordered name or gender change is not required. The intentional or persistent refusal to respect an employee’s gender identity (for example, intentionally referring to the employee by a name or pronoun that does not correspond to the employee’s gender identity) can constitute harassment and is a violation of this policy. If you are unsure what pronoun a transitioning coworker might prefer, you can politely ask your coworker how they would like to be addressed.

Transitioning on the Job:  Employees who transition on the job can expect the support of management and Human Resources staff. Human Resources staff will work with each transitioning employee individually to ensure a successful workplace transition. Guidelines will be provided to employees which will address:  employee(s) responsible for helping a transitioning employee manage his/her workplace transition; what a transitioning employee can expect from management; what management’s expectations are for staff, transitioning employees, and the LGBTQ employee resource group in facilitating a successful workplace transition; and what the general procedure is for implementing transition-related workplace changes, such as adjusting personnel and administrative records, and developing an individualized communication plan to share the news with coworkers and clients.

Sex-Segregated Job Assignments:  For sex-segregated jobs, transgender employees will be classified and assigned in a manner consistent with their gender identity, not their sex assigned at birth.

Restroom Accessibility:  Employees shall have access to the restroom corresponding to their gender identity and will not be asked to provide any medical or legal documentation of their gender identity in order to have access to gender-appropriate facilities. All employees have a right to safe and appropriate restroom facilities, including the right to use a restroom that corresponds to the employee’s gender identity, regardless of the employee’s sex assigned at birth. For example, transgender women must be permitted to use the women’s restroom, and transgender men must be permitted to use the men’s restroom. The decision as to which restroom to use is for the transgender employee to determine based on which is the most appropriate option for them. Some employees – transgender or non-transgender – may desire additional privacy. Where possible, Port Authority will make available a unisex single-stall restroom that can be used by any employee who has a need for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason. No employee, however, shall be required to use a unisex single-stall restroom.

Locker Room Accessibility:  All employees have the right to use the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity. Any employee who has a need or desire for increased privacy, regardless of the underlying reason, can be provided with a reasonable alternative changing area such as the use of a private area, or using the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity before or after other employees. Any alternative arrangement for a transgender employee will be provided in a way that allows the employee to keep their transgender status confidential.

Dress Codes:  The Port Authority does not have dress codes that restrict employees’ clothing or appearance on the basis of gender.  To the extent that dress codes exist, a transgender employee is permitted to dress consistently with their gender identity and is required to comply with the same dress code and grooming standards that apply to all other employees. 

Discrimination/Harassment:  It is unlawful and violates company policy to discriminate in any way (including, but not limited to, failure to hire, failure to promote, or unlawful termination) against an employee because of the employee’s actual or perceived gender identity. Additionally, it also is unlawful and contrary to this policy to retaliate against any person requesting legal protections against gender identity discrimination in employment or supporting enforcement of those legal protections (see Section V below). The Port Authority is committed to creating a safe work environment for transgender and gender non-conforming employees. Any incident of discrimination, harassment, or violence based on gender identity or expression will be given immediate and effective attention, including, but not limited to, investigating the incident, taking suitable corrective action, and providing employees and staff with appropriate resources.

Health Insurance Benefits:  Port Authority employees have the option of selecting a health insurance plan that provides coverage for transition-related care for gender dysphoria. Transgender employees and their spouses will have equal access to the same benefits as other employees.

 

Prohibition on Retaliation

The Port Authority strictly prohibits any retaliation against an employee or job applicant for reporting or otherwise acting on an alleged violation of this policy. Retaliation includes adverse employment or job-related actions, as well as other acts such as bullying, verbal or physical abuse. No retaliation may be taken against any employee who has:

  1. refused to submit to or tolerate any form of discrimination;
  2. made a complaint or report about discrimination to anyone within the Port Authority, whether verbal or written; 
  3. cooperated, assisted with or provided information in connection with an investigation of discrimination; 
  4. served as a witness in any administrative or legal proceeding concerning a claim of discrimination; 
  5. intervened as a bystander to prevent an act of discrimination or bullying;
  6. acted on a complaint of discrimination; 
  7. filed a charge of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”), or filed a lawsuit alleging discrimination; or
  8. otherwise exercised rights consistent with the spirit of this policy or applicable laws. 

This prohibition on retaliation protects any person who in good faith makes a complaint, reports, or takes other action against discrimination, even if it is later determined that the underlying facts and circumstances did not violate either the law or this policy.  Executives, managers and supervisors have an affirmative obligation to protect employees from retaliation after they have refused to submit to, reported or taken action against discrimination.  Any employee found to have engaged in retaliation will be subject to discipline, up to and including termination.

 

Reporting a Complaint 

If you believe that you [1] have suffered, witnessed or possess information concerning the denial of an equal employment opportunity or discrimination or harassment because of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status or any other federally protected category as defined by this policy; [2] have experienced or observed retaliation; or [3] have questions concerning any aspect of this policy, you are strongly encouraged to speak up. There are several ways you can report or inquire:

  1. In any instance of assault, threatened assault, or harassment or retaliation which poses an imminent risk of physical harm to an employee, the Port Authority Police Department should be contacted on an urgent basis at 800-828-7273.  
  2. Contact the Port Authority’s Office of EEO Compliance, at 212-435-6323 or 212-435-6322, or send an email to eeo@panynj.gov. This office serves as the central unit for processing complaints of discrimination, harassment and/or retaliation on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including gender identity and sexual orientation), pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status or any other federally protected category. Job applicants may find contact information for the Office of EEO Compliance on the Port Authority website at the following link: www.panynj.gov/careers/equal-opportunity-employer.html;
  3. Contact the Office of Ethics & Compliance at 212-435-6607, or send an email to ethicscompliance@panynj.gov
  4. Contact the Human Resources Department at 212-435-8148, or send an email to mhannell@panynj.gov;     
  5. Contact your departmental Employee Complaint Representative, whose name can be found on the Employee Code of Ethics page of the Port Authority’s internal website for employees (eNet);    
  6. Speak to your supervisor or manager. If you are uncomfortable speaking to your direct supervisor or manager, you may bypass him/her and go directly to the next higher level(s) of authority within the department or the organization; 
  7. Speak to another supervisor or manager with whom you feel comfortable raising your concerns; 
  8. Contact The Voice of the Employee (VOICE) helpline at 866-279-6844 or online at panynjvoice.tnwreports.com. VOICE is available 24/7 and is administered by a third party vendor to ensure anonymity, if preferred;   
  9. Complaints of retaliation may be reported to EEO, the Office of Ethics & Compliance or the Office of the Inspector General (contact the Office of Inspector General at (973) 565-4340, or send an email to InspectorGeneral@panynj.gov), regardless of how or to whom the underlying complaint was initially reported. Retaliation complaints will be referred to and investigated by the appropriate resource; or
  10. If you do not wish to bring your complaint internally to any of the resources provided above, you can report the matter to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), a federal government agency that interprets and enforces the federal laws prohibiting discrimination in the workplace.

The Port Authority will investigate each complaint promptly, thoroughly and impartially, and keep the complaint confidential to the extent permitted by law and consistent with the agency’s responsibility to fully investigate the matter. If the agency concludes that this policy has been violated, corrective measures will be taken, including discipline, up to and including termination.

A copy of this policy will be posted on the Port Authority’s external website for applicants for employment, the public and recruiting sources, the Port Authority’s internal website (eNet), and facility bulletin boards throughout the agency for viewing by all employees and employee representatives.
 

Related Policy and Procedure Statements

The Port Authority Employee Code of Ethics
AI 20-1.18 Whistleblower Protection 
AI 20-1.19 Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy
AI 20-1.20 Sexual Harassment Policy
AI 20-1.21 Bullying and Workplace Violence Policy