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DOJ to recognize trans discrimination as sex discrimination
2014-12-18

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The Department of Justice is expanding a civil-rights law to include protections for transgender workers.

NPR noted that Attorney General Eric Holder said the law, Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, will now ensure that workers who sue over discrimination in the workplace will get fair and consistent treatment.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) responded to this announcement with a statement. "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."

The American Military Partner Association (AMPA)—the nation's largest organization for the partners, spouses, and families of LGBT service members and veterans—responded to the news by calling on the Defense Department to end its currently unjustified sex discrimination against transgender troops by lifting the ban against open and honest service.

From press releases:

From The Human Rights Campaign:

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.

From The American Military Partner Association: With Justice Department news, AMPA calls on Defense Department to end sex discrimination against transgender troops

WASHINGTON — Today, the Attorney General of the United States announced that the Department of Justice will treat workplace discrimination against transgender people as sex discrimination, which is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, based upon the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) decision inMacy v. Holder. The American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation's largest organization for the partners, spouses, and families of America's lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members and veterans, responded to the news by calling on the Defense Department to end its currently unjustified sex discrimination against transgender troops by lifting the ban against open and honest service.

"The EEOC and the Attorney General have made it clear that workplace discrimination against transgender people is not only wrong, but unlawful," said AMPA President Ashley Broadway. "While the Defense Department follows a different set of rules, there is no valid reason that our transgender troops should continue to be prohibited from serving openly and honestly. The ban continues to harm our military families, military readiness, and ultimately the mission. The Secretary of Defense should do the right thing and immediately order the review of the current outdated regulations that he said he was open to back in May."

While tremendous progress has been made since the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT), the Defense Department has not yet updated significantly outdated policies impacting LGBT military families. In addition to its continued enforcement of outdated regulations prohibiting open and honest service by the estimated 15,500 transgender troops who currently serve, it has still not included sexual orientation in the official non-discrimination policy and equal opportunity program for uniformed troops — over three years after the repeal of DADT.

AMPA continues to advocate for explicit protections in the Defense Department's non-discrimination policy for uniformed troops and Military Equal Opportunity Program for both sexual orientation and gender identity. Notably, these same protections are guaranteed to civilian employees of the Defense Department.

For more information about the American Military Partner Association and LGBT military spouses and their families, please visit our home on the web atwww.MilitaryPartners.org .

The American Military Partner Association is the nation's largest organization for the partners, spouses, families, and allies of America's LGBT service members and veterans. With over 35,000 members and supporters, AMPA is committed to education, advocacy, and support for our "modern military families."

From NCLR: Statement on the DOJ's announcement regarding anti-transgender employment discrimination claims

(San Francisco, CA, December 18, 2014)—Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department of Justice interprets sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as encompassing discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.

"We applaud Attorney General Holder and the Department of Justice for taking this principled stand to ensure that all Americans benefit from the protections of our nation's anti-discrimination laws," said National Center for Lesbian Rights Legal Director Shannon Minter. "This is a huge step forward for transgender litigants and will have an extremely positive impact in cases involving discrimination against transgender employees. The Department of Justice has placed the full weight of its authority as our nation's lawyers behind the principled position that transgender people are fully protected under Title VII and other federal laws that prohibit sex discrimination."

In recent years, courts across the country have ruled that Title VII protects transgender workers, a conclusion the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) also reached in 2012 in the Mia Macy case. Ms. Macy, a highly qualified military veteran and former police detective, filed a claim alleging that a federal agency failed to hire her after it learned that she is transgender.

"This is an issue that is currently being litigated in courts across the country, and while many courts and scholars already agree with this view, having the Department of Justice's support lends it even more credibility and strength," said Minter.


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