Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Trump's EEOC Continues To Fight Transgender Employment Discrimination

Slate reported yesterday that it has become clear that the EEOC under the Trump Administration will continue to fight employment discrimination against transgender individuals.  In a brief (full text) filed with the 6th Circuit on Feb. 10, the EEOC argued that Title VII's prohibition on "sex" discrimination includes discrimination based on transgender status and/or transitioning.  It also argued that religious beliefs are not a basis for discriminating against transgender individuals. The brief comes in an appeal in EEOC v. R.G, a suit in which a Michigan federal district court upheld a funeral home's defense under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to a charge that it engaged in gender stereotyping when it dismissed a transgender employee who was in the process of transitioning from male to female. (See prior posting.)

UPDATE: I should add that it has become clear that the EEOC will continue to take this position for now.  Because there is a vacancy on the Commission, a Democratic commissioner's position comes up for appointment later this year and the General Counsel position is vacant, the Commission could change its position in the future. The Slate article points out these possibilities.