AG Holder Announces Justice Dept Will Recognize Transgender Discrimination As Sex Discrimination

by Stephen Peters

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, responded to today’s announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder that the 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).”

 “The decision by Attorney General Holder to fully embrace the legal standard set forth in Macy will go a long way towards advancing equality for the transgender community,” said Sarah Warbelow, HRC’s Legal Director. “Transgender people continue to face some of the highest levels of discrimination in the workplace. We are thrilled to see the Department of Justice take this important step.”

 In 2012, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) determined in Macy v. Holder that discrimination based on an individual's gender identity is sex discrimination and thus constitutes a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 Earlier this year, the EEOC filed complaints in federal courts in Florida and Michigan against two separate companies accused of discriminating against transgender employees, Amiee Stephens of Michigan and Brandi Branson of Florida.  Amiee Stephens was fired from R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home, Inc., in Michigan after informing her employer that she was transitioning from male to female and would be dressing appropriately to represent her affirmed gender.  Brandi Branson was fired from Lakeland Eye Clinic in Florida after acknowledging to her employer that she was transitioning from male to female.

 HRC continues to advocate for explicit, legislated workplace protections at all levels of government for LGBT people.

 The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.


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