Does Title VII Protect Transgender Texas Employees from Discrimination?

Title VII to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 made many types of workplace discrimination illegal. For example, Title VII protects against race, sex, and national origin discrimination, among others. In the years since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, however, employers continued to discriminate against certain classes of employees, requiring Congress to act to protect these groups.

Thus, Congress eventually passed the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Still, however, certain groups continue to be discriminated against in the employment setting. Transgender employees are among those who have failed to obtain equal treatment under the law. However, recently, a federal circuit court of appeals issued a written opinion in an employment law case, holding that discrimination based on an employee’s transgender status constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII. This is a very important step toward transgender employees having the full spectrum of protection enjoyed by their colleagues.

The Facts of the Case

The case was brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of a funeral home employee who told her employer that she planned to transition from a male to a female and would start to wear women’s clothing to work. The funeral home terminated the employee based on a gender-specific dress code policy.

The employee filed a claim with the EEOC, which took her case and litigated it on her behalf. The EEOC argued that discrimination based on an employee’s transgender status is equivalent to sex discrimination and should be treated as such. The United States Court of Appeal for the Sixth Circuit agreed with the EEOC and the employee, finding that “gender must be irrelevant to employment decisions.”

The approach taken by the Sixth Circuit is directly opposed to that of the current administration. Indeed, Attorney General Jeff Sessions wrote in a recent memorandum that, “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”

Have You Been the Victim of Employment Discrimination?

If you have recently been the victim of Texas employment discrimination based on your sex or gender, you should contact the Law Office of Rob Wiley, P.C. We represent employees in cases against discriminatory employers in all types of employment actions. We also handle wage-and-hour claims, FMLA claims, and other employment claims. To learn more, call us today at 214-528-6500 to schedule a consultation to discuss your case.

More Blog Posts:

The Intersection Between Title VII and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Rules Regarding Accent Discrimination, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, July 6, 2018.

Can Texas Employers Make Compensation Decisions Based on Race?, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, August 9, 2018.


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