Sixteen US states want the Supreme Court to limit transgender workplace rights
A group of 16 US states have asked the Supreme Court to rule that companies can fire workers based on their gender identity without violating federal workplace discrimination laws.
The move is linked to the case of a Michigan funeral home that fired a trans worker in 2013 after she told them she was transitioning.
The employee, Aimee Stephens, sued R.G and G.R Harris Funeral Homes on the basis that her dismissal was sex discrimination under federal Title VII law, which prohibits gender discrimination.
Earlier this year, a federal district court ruled in Stephens’ favour.
The group of 16 states – led by Nebraska Attorney General David Bydalek – asked the justices to overturn the decision, arguing Congress did not intend the ban on sex discrimination to cover LGBT employees.
“The States’ purpose is to note that ‘sex’ under the plain terms of Title VII does not mean anything other than biological status,” Bydalek wrote, according to Bloomberg Law.
Thirteen Republican attorneys general, including those representing Texas, Alabama, Kansas, and Utah, joined in the court filing.
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Trump first proposed blocking all transgender people from serving in the military in a series of tweets in July 2017.
He then endorsed an updated proposal by defence secretary Jim Mattis in March to prevent “transgender persons with a history or diagnosis of gender dysphoria” from serving in the military “except under certain limited circumstances.”
In a ruling released on 6 August, district judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly argued that the amended proposal is effectively a categorical ban on all trans people from serving in the military, writing: “By targeting proxies of transgender status, such as ‘gender dysphoria’ and ‘gender transition,’ and by requiring all service members to serve ‘in their biological sex.’”
The judge refused a request from the Trump government to lift an injunction she had made against the US president’s original ban.