Federal law bans employment discrimination based on race, religion, sex, national origin, age and disability. But sexual orientation and gender identity are not on this list, allowing employers to fire workers solely because they are transgender. Rebecca Juro, host of 'The Rebecca Juro Show,' was fired in 1997 immediately after telling her employer that she was in the process of transitioning from male to female. She shared her story on HuffPost Live.
"I was in the process of coming out, and I was frankly pretty naive at that point. And what happened was, I went to my boss and I said 'you know, I'm going through a transition -- I was living as a man at the time -- 'I'm going to be living as a woman,'" she explained to host Mike Sacks. "They just said 'oh yeah? Well guess what, you're fired. Goodbye.'
Afterwards, Juro faced even more discrimination. "I figured this has got to be illegal right? You can't do that to somebody. So I went and called up our state's civil rights division and they said 'no no, it's perfectly legal -- we don't have a problem with that.'
"And that was really for me when I started to understand not just the implications for my own life and the people around me, but that this had real political implications. Transitioning from male to female had real and serious political implications. I was literally giving up significant civil rights by doing so."
New Jersey passed a law in 2007 prohibiting workplace discrimination against transgender people. Still, Juro claimed that because of poor enforcement of the law, the transgender population must fight for its rights. "The burden of proof is always going to be on the person who is being discriminated against, not the company doing the discriminating."