Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Teacher Who Refused To Address Transgender Students By Preferred Names Loses Title VII Suit

In Kluge v. Brownsburg Community School Corporation, (SD IN, July 12, 2021), an Indiana federal district court dismissed a suit by a former teacher who resigned rather than comply with a school policy requiring him to address transgender students by their preferred names and pronouns. Plaintiff contended that it violated his Christian religious beliefs to comply with this policy. He sued under Title VII, claiming failure to accommodate his religious beliefs and retaliation. The court said in part:

[A]  name carries with it enough importance to overcome a public school corporation's duty to accommodate a teacher's sincerely held religious beliefs against a policy that requires staff to use transgender students' preferred names when supported by a parent and health care provider. Because BCSC ... could not accommodate Mr. Kluge's religious beliefs without sustaining undue hardship, and because Mr. Kluge has failed to make a meaningful argument or adduce evidence in support of a claim for retaliation, BCSC's Cross-Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED....

Indiana Lawyer reports on the decision.