Department of Justice Claims Businesses May Discriminate Against Transgender Workers

The U.S. Department of Justice told the Supreme Court in October 2018 that businesses are allowed to discriminate against workers based on gender identity without violating federal law.

In an appearance in front of the Supreme Court, Solicitor General Noel Francisco said the civil rights law that bans sex discrimination in the workplace does not include gender identity or transgender status as a protected class. However, this statement contradicts the Equal Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) interpretation of the law, which it is in charge of enforcing.

Case tests gender identity bias under federal law

The statement from Francisco came during a case involving a Michigan funeral home that is seeking the Supreme Court to overturn a U.S Court of Appeals ruling that it violated workplace discrimination law when it fired a transgender employee. The EEOC sued the funeral home on behalf of the worker and was successful. The DOJ has now told the Supreme Court that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals reached an incorrect decision in that case.

The Supreme Court is expected to decide shortly whether it will take on the case. If it does, it is expected to be a landmark decision on the status of gender identity as a protected class in the United States. It will likely see a significant emotional investment from both sides of the political spectrum. The case will also have a considerable effect on the field of whistleblower law, as it will determine whether transgender employees may seek compensation or restitution if they are fired or discriminated against due to their gender identity.

To learn more about the steps you should take if you believe you have been a victim of workplace discrimination or retaliation, reach out to an experienced whistleblower lawyer at Kardell Law Group.