American Eagle Forced To Accept Transgendered Staff

13 May 2010

All companies expect their employees to dress job-appropriately, but when does a dress code become discrimination? How about when it comes to cross dressing?

American Eagle, the US clothing brand, has been forced to change their rule banning male employees wearing women’s clothing to work after a campaign by transgender charity Make the Road New York – the same people who took J Crew to court after Yo Smith, who went for a job interview with the retailer, accused them of not hiring her because she is transgendered.

Yesterday Attorney General Andrew Cuomo ordered American Eagle Outfitters - which employs more than 2,000 people in its 61 New York stores - to tweak its employee handbook to allow transgender staff to dress androgynously when at work. ‘We wholeheartedly believe that transgender individuals should be treated equally,’ a spokesperson for the brand said.

‘This shows me that there's faith and hope. There might be a domino effect, that's what I'm hoping for,’ said Joi-elle White, 35, a transgender member of Make the Road New York, ‘If more places would follow behind American Eagle's experience, a lot of us would be able to work more and there would be less of us on the street or on the Internet risking our life just to survive.’

A victory for the PC brigade? Or should employers have the right to impose a dress they feel fit?

By Amy Molloy


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