DOJ reverses course on Title VII protections for transgender persons

January 14, 2018 0 COMMENTS

by Angela N. Johnson

On October 4, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum announcing the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ) new stance that transgender employees aren’t protected from discrimination under federal law. The announcement reflects a reversal from the Obama administration’s interpretation of the law and runs counter to federal court decisions and other federal agencies’ interpretations.  Vector modern transgender flag background

Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination

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Oklahoma jury awards transgender worker $1.165 million in bias suit

December 17, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Charlie Plumb

The courts, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hold differing views on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or sexual identity. Nevertheless, on November 20, an Oklahoma City federal court jury awarded a transgender employee $1,165,000 on her discrimination and retaliation claims.    Vector modern transgender flag background

Professor Tudor’s claims

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Deciphering the feds’ changing position on LGBT employment protections under Title VII

November 19, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Molly DiBiancaGay pride

In a memo issued on October 4, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions formally declared that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not prohibit discrimination based on transgender status. The memo directly conflicts with the position of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which has long argued that gender identity is protected by federal law. Here’s what employers need to know.

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U.S. Supreme Court to consider transgender restroom lawsuit

January 15, 2017 0 COMMENTS

by Ryan B. Frazier

During the 1990s, Saturday Night Live, a popular TV sketch comedy show, featured a recurring gender-ambiguous character, Pat. The gag in Pat’s comedy sketches often involved others’ failed attempts to determine the seemingly androgynous character’s gender. The skits played off the then-prevailing view that a person’s gender falls into one of two categories: male or female.  Gender transition concept

Society’s view of gender has evolved significantly since then. The rigid dichotomy of a two-gender world view is frequently challenged and, in some cases, rejected outright. As society’s views on gender morph, the law is attempting to keep pace.

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U.S. Supreme Court puts transgender bathroom case on hold

August 09, 2016 4 COMMENTS

by Rachael L. Loughlin

The case of the Gloucester County, Virginia, transgender high-school student fighting to use the restroom that matches his gender identity has been making its way through the federal court system for more than a year. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court weighed in on the matter, adding yet another twist to the high-profile case.  Transgender Sign

A recap of the lawsuit

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4th Circuit ruling favors transgender student

May 27, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Rachael Luzietti

After the Norfolk federal district court refused to order the Gloucester County School Board to grant the student’s request, he appealed to the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals (whose rulings apply to all Virginia employers). Recently, the appeals court reversed the district court’s decision and issued a ruling favorable to the student.  Transgender Sign

A recap of the lawsuit

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Gender identity in the workplace: Employers face emerging discrimination issue

July 19, 2015 0 COMMENTS

When the Olympian and reality TV star the world knew as Bruce Jenner announced this spring that he identifies as female rather than male, the resulting publicity put a new employment issue into focus: Controversy surrounding gender identity is more than fodder for reality TV. It also poses workplace discrimination questions as well as practical dilemmas such as restroom access. Transgender Bathroom

Although Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 doesn’t specifically address gender identity, more and more that granddaddy of discrimination laws is being interpreted as prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity. In December 2014, a memorandum from then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder stated: “I have determined that the best reading of Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.” He went on to say that the U.S. Department of Justice “will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex does not encompass gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination.”

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Employers may be liable for transgender discrimination

June 14, 2015 1 COMMENTS

by Ryan B. Frazier

The legal landscape related to sexual orientation and gender identity has been shifting in recent years. The impact of same-sex marriage on employers and other topics involving homosexual employees and their partners have been featured in previous issues of this newsletter. Recent lawsuits and statements by key governmental officials have now placed transgender/gender identity discrimination and other issues at the forefront. Transgender

There is no universally accepted definition of “transgender.” The term usually refers to an individual whose gender identity does not match his or her biological gender. Transgender is sometimes confused with sexual orientation, but gender identity is an independent issue. Further, some transgender people may undergo medical procedures to physically align their gender to their gender identity. As this article illustrates, employers need to keep an eye on this rapidly changing area of the law.

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EEOC brings first lawsuits alleging transgender discrimination

December 14, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Arielle B. Sepulveda

On September 25, 2014, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed two lawsuits, the first actions by the agency in which it has alleged that discharging an employee because she is transgender constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex and therefore violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In light of the increasing societal and judicial recognition of LGBT rights, employers must be aware of the potential workplace issues faced by employees who don’t conform to traditional gender norms.  Transgender

Background

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The role of leadership in creating transgender-inclusive workplaces

August 12, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Dr. Jamison Green

Corporate leaders agree that diverse and inclusive workplaces are more productive, versatile, and adaptive in a changing marketplace. But often, when managers think of gender diversity, they think only about gender parity between men and women, or about opening traditionally male occupations to women, or vice versa. Creating a transgender-inclusive workplace is an opportunity to create even more awareness about gender, and to eliminate the prejudices and limitations we impose on people because of our assumptions about gender and sex stereotypes.  PositiveLeadership

Employers may not even be aware that they may already have transgender people in their workforce. Not all transgender people will go through an “on-the-job” transition, nor will they be “obvious” in their appearance. Some employees may have transgender family members or friends, and knowing that there are employers who actively do not discriminate against this segment of the population can be a source of relief and even pride.

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