Title VII transgender lawsuit revived

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The decision by Moore and two others on the Sixth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals punished a Christian-owned MI funeral home for requiring that men dress as men, and women as women, when they deal with customers who are going through the trauma of the loss of a loved one. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had sued over the discharge of the employee, who refused to comply with the male dress code.

Moore wrote, "We refer to Stephens using female pronouns, in accordance with the preference she has expressed through her briefing to this court".

The district court ruled only the unlawful termination claim was at issue, and that argument then was rejected, because transgenderism is not a protected class under Title VII.

The appeals court also overturned the ruling as to whether the EEOC's enforcement efforts must give way to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which "prohibits the government from enforcing a religiously neutral law against an individual if that law substantially burdens the individual's religious exercise and is not the least restrictive way to further compelling government interest".

McCaleb said Harris Funeral Homes is considering whether to appeal the decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled February 26 that discrimination against a worker who is gay, lesbian, or bisexual is discrimination based on sex.

"Court opinions should interpret legal terms according to their plain meaning when Congress passed the law", McCaleb added. In a written statement, he said the Sixth Circuit opinion "re-writes federal law and is directly contrary to decisions from other federal appellate courts".

"Today's decision is an exciting and important victory for transgender people and allied communities across the country", John Knight, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU's LGBT & HIV Project, said in a statement.

"In too many workplaces all of the country, coming out as trans is still seen as a fire-able offense", Korobkin told WWJ Newsradio 950's Sandra McNeill. McCabe said his organization is "consulting with our client to consider their options for appeal".

"But this ruling affirms that that is illegal, setting an important precedent confirming that transgender people are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act", Knight said. "We are thrilled for Aimee, and for all trans folks, to be able to announce this win today". "That's exactly what was experienced by Amy Stephens in this case".

"Including protection for gender identity under Title VII would threaten the religious liberty of people like Tom Rost who operate their businesses according to the principles of their faith". Funeral home owner Thomas Rotz's defended the termination, arguing transgender identity is against his religious beliefs.

"Discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status is necessarily discrimination on the basis of sex", one of the judges wrote in the ruling.

The panel's ruling also goes against a memorandum from the Trump administration issued last October in which Attorney General Jeff Sessions explained that Title VII's sex discrimination clause is about biological sex and not gender identity.

Writing the 49-page unanimous opinion, U.S. Circuit Judge Karen Nelson Moore, a Clinton appointee, determined R.G.

Joining in Moore in the decision is U.S. Circuit Judge Jeffrey White, an appointee of George W. Bush; and U.S. Circuit Judge Bernice Donald, an Obama appointee.



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