December 17, 2018

Federal appeals court gives workplace non-discrimination protection to transgender individuals

09 March 2018, 03:38 | Randall Craig

Rainbow hearse remains optional

Rainbow hearse remains optional

The court delivered its ruling March 7.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission had initially filed the lawsuit, but Stephens later joined the suit because she feared policy changes in the US government might prevent the EEOC from representing her interests. The court ruled against R.G.

Aimee Australia Stephens, formerly known as William Anthony Beasley Stephens, worked for R.G.

The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday once again held that workplace anti-discrimination laws extend to protections for transgender workers.

Attorneys urged the court to rule that the funeral home qualifies for the "ministerial exception" to Title VII, but it said Stephens was not a ministerial employee and the funeral home is not a religious institution.

The case will now be sent back to the lower court.

Representing Harris Funeral Home in the case was Alliance Defending Freedom, a anti-LGBT legal firm that has engaged in efforts nationwide to promote the idea religious liberty should take precedent over LGBT rights. ADF represented the funeral home in the case. When she informed her boss, Thomas Rost, of her intention to transition from male to female, Rost fired her. Stephens then filed a complaint with the EEOC.

In 2016, a federal district court ruled in favor of the Detroit funeral home and its workplace dress code. McCabe said his organization is "consulting with our client to consider their options for appeal". The ACLU told Buzzfeed that the decision therefore sets an "important precedent" and "ensures that employers will not be able to use their religious beliefs against trans employees, ruling that there is no "right to discriminate" in the workplace". "We are thrilled for Aimee, and for all trans folks, to be able to announce this win today".

The judge added: "RFRA provides the Funeral Home with no relief because continuing to employ Stephens would not, as a matter of law, substantially burden Rost's religious exercise, and even if it did, the EEOC has shown that enforcing Title VII here is the least restrictive means of furthering its compelling interest in combating and eradicating sex discrimination".

"The significance of this decision is hard to overstate", said Lambda Legal lawyer Sharon McGowan in an email to BuzzFeed News. "That's exactly what was experienced by Amy Stephens in this case". Second, it makes clear religious freedom as outlined under RFRA doesn't supersede Title VII's prohibition on employment discrimination.

"So this ruling", he said, "affirms that that kind of firing is unlawful".

In essence, the Sixth Circuit establishes two milestones with the decision. The agency started the ball rolling on the reexamination by federal courts' of earlier rulings that rejected coverage for LGBT workers under the plain language of Title VII.

The Justice Department previously said the federal provision considered in Wednesday's ruling - Title VII of the 1964 civil rights law - didn't necessarily protect against discrimination based on gender identity.

Federal appeals courts that have looked again at the law in the wake of the EEOC's rulings have divided on the issue as it relates to sexual orientation bias.

Whether Title VII anti-discrimination laws in employment extend to sexual orientation and gender identity is an issue that's been has been widely disputed.

On behalf of the court, Judge Karen Nelson Moore wrote: "Discrimination against employees, either because of their failure to conform to sex stereotypes or their transgender and transitioning status, is illegal under Title VII".

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.

Other News

Trending Now

Fortnite Is Coming To Mobile, Will Support Cross-Platform Play
Fortnite Battle Royale's mobile debut will begin on select iOS devices with signups set to open for an Invite Event next week. Fortnite Battle Royale is coming to Android and iOS . "We believe this is the future of games", said Epic .

Wynn Resorts higher after business update
It also raised concerns the reputational damage could impact Wynn Resorts business and force the company to change its name. Finally, Boston Advisors LLC purchased a new position in Wynn Resorts during the fourth quarter valued at $25,481,000.

Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel smashes track record on penultimate day of Barcelona testing
Now Red Bull motorsport advisor Dr Helmut Marko has revealed that discussions have progressed a little since the off-season. Again, a true reading of the competitive order will not be ascertained until F1 travels to Melbourne .

Reps pass bill seeking to make NFIU autonomous
However, the bill as passed by the House of Representatives has transferred the NFIU from the EFCC to the CBN. The Bill seeks to grant financial and operational autonomy to the NFIU, which is now domiciled in the EFCC.

You can now buy Switch games with your Gold Coins
Nintendo has announced that you can now use My Nintendo Gold Points to buy Nintendo Switch games digitally on the Nintendo eShop. Redeem those points on your next eligible digital purchase (including games and DLC) for the Nintendo Switch system.

'The Grinch': First Trailer Reveals Benedict Cumberbatch as the Lovable Grump
There was just one catch: he didn't say a word, so we still had no clue what he might sound with Benedict's unmistakeable vocals. As Christmas approaches, however, her good-natured scheme threatens to collide with the Grinch's more nefarious one.

Front Barnett Associates LLC Increases Position in Amazon.Com INC
Finally, Stelac Advisory Services LLC bought a new position in in the third quarter valued at approximately $131,000. John Burbank increased its stake in Amazon Com Inc (AMZN) by 104.99% based on its latest 2017Q3 regulatory filing with the SEC.

Turkey, FSA free Jinderes town center in Syria's Afrin
The move came after Turkish Armed Forces and the FSA freed Jinderes Hill on Wednesday. Jinderes is the fifth town center in the Afrin region to have been captured.

Charlize Theron admits to using marijuana, says her mother was her supplier
Theron became a US citizen in 2007, while retaining her South African citizenship. "She said, 'I went to the store by myself , '" Theron said of Maritz.

Star Wars Han Solo IMAX Poster
When I'm finished with a film, I've been living with it, we've been dubbing it, recording to it, and so on. The last planned spin-off will see everyone's favourite Darth Vader henchman get his own origins tale.