Saturday, October 07, 2017

DOJ Says Title VII Does Not Cover Transgender Discrimination

On Oct. 4, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a Memorandum (full text) reversing a prior Justice Department interpretation of the extent to which Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination against transgender individuals.  Saying that it is dealing with "a conclusion of law, not policy", the Memorandum says in part:
Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.  Therefore, as of the date of this memorandum, which hereby withdraws the December 15, 2014, memorandum, the Department of Justice will take that position in all pending and future matters (except where controlling lower-court precedent dictates otherwise, in which event the issue should be preserved for potential further review).
The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals.  Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis of gender identity, or to express a policy view on whether Congress should amend Title VII to provide different or additional protections.  Nor does this memorandum remove of reduce the protections against discrimination on the basis of sex that Congress has provided all individuals, including transgender individuals, under Title VII.
National Law Journal reports on the AG's action.