The Trump administration has argued in
a brief to the Supreme Court that firing transgender workers does not
violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The U.S. Department of Justice on
Friday filed a 54-page brief in a case involving a transgender worker
who was fired from a funeral home in Michigan after she announced to
her employer that she was transitioning.
Court to hear gay, transgender employment rights cases.)
The department argued in its brief that
Title VII protections based on sex do not cover gender identity.
“As it stands, Title VII prohibits
treating an individual less favorably than similarly situated
individuals of the opposite sex,” the brief states. “It simply
does not speak to discrimination because of an individual’s gender
identity or a disconnect between an individual’s gender identity
and the individual’s sex.”
“[Congress] has specifically
addressed gender-identity discrimination in multiple other statutes,
listing ‘gender identity’ separately from and in addition to
‘sex’ or ‘gender.' Many states have done the same. Yet in the
face of (until recently) uniform circuit precedent construing ‘sex’
in Title VII not to encompass transgender status, Congress has
consistently declined similarly to expand that statute – even while
amending Title VII in other respects,” the department wrote.
The Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (EEOC) sued R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in
Michigan over its firing of Aimee Stephens. The case was the first at
the appellate level to conclude that sex discrimination under Title
VII covers bias against transgender employees.
According to a recent report in
Bloomberg Law, the Justice Department has leaned on the EEOC
to reverse its position on Title VII as it relates to transgender
individuals. The position is a holdover from the Obama
Harris Funeral Homes is represented by
the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which has previously argued
before the Supreme Court that business owners with religious
objections should be exempt from laws that prohibit discrimination
based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
calls reports that it supports criminalizing gay sex “fake news.”)