Appeals Court Rules Sex Discrimination Includes Bias Against Transgender People

A paper butterfly is displayed on a coffin during Asia Funeral Expo in Hong Kong

However, it erred "in finding that Stephens could not alternatively pursue a claim that she was discriminated against on the basis of her transgender and transitioning status", said the ruling. 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. "We understand that courts are grappling with the theories we have put before them". The court ruled against R.G.

GR & RG Funeral Homes operate locations in Detroit, Garden City, and Livonia.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled Wednesday that the federal government can force a MI funeral home to allow a male employee to dress as a woman despite the family business's sex-specific dress code. "That's exactly what was experienced by Amy Stephens in this case".

In 2016, a federal district court ruled in favor of the funeral home and its workplace dress code.

Gary McCaleb is an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing the funeral home.

"[However] the Funeral Home is not affiliated with a church; it does not claim to have a religious objective in its articles of incorporation; it is open every day, including Christian holidays; and it serves clients of all faiths".

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"The unrefuted facts show that the Funeral Home fired Stephens because she refused to abide by her employer's stereotypical conception of her sex, and therefore the EEOC is entitled to summary judgment as to its unlawful-termination claim", Moore wrote.

"Today's decision misreads court precedents that have long protected businesses which properly differentiate between men and women in their dress and grooming code policies", he added. "Court opinions should interpret legal terms according to their plain meaning when Congress passed the law".

The American Civil Liberties Union, which represented Stephens as an intervenor in the case, said it was "thrilled" with the outcome.

"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.

"The funeral home engaged in unlawful discrimination against Stephens on the basis of her sex", and hasn't sufficiently proven that Stephens decision to live as a female substantially "burdened" the owner's right to religious freedom, the appeals court ruled.

Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which filed an amicus brief in the case, celebrated the panel's decision.

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The case is the latest to weigh in on whether Title VII relates to gender identity and sexual orientation, something the Department of Justice has fought under Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

But the US Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit this week rejected his claims and found in favour of Stephens and the EEOC.

This is the fourth appeal Lambda Legal has brought before the courts on behalf of lesbian, gay and bisexual workers regarding Title VII, two of which resulted in wins for the gay and lesbian plaintiffs. The Eleventh Circuit, on the other hand, declined to overturn its prior precedent saying that sexual orientation bias isn't expressly prohibited under the 1964 law.

"They are trying to use the courts to alter Title VII's prohibition of discrimination in employment based on sex to prohibit discrimination based on gender identity as well, even though Title VII makes no reference to gender identity or transgender status", said Wardlow.

Judge Karen Nelson Moore wrote the opinion, which was joined by Judges Helene N. White and Bernice B. Donald.

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