Plaintiff in landmark Title VII transgender-rights case dies

The case will go on.

And we should be getting a decision from the U.S. Supreme Court very soon.

Aimee Stephens, the individual plaintiff/intervenor in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, died yesterday of kidney failure, according to the Detroit News. She had reportedly been in Stage 4 renal failure and had been receiving hospice care since earlier this week. She was 59.

Ms. Stephens, born Anthony Stephens, was terminated from her employment at the Garden City, Michigan, funeral home in 2013, after she announced that she would begin presenting as a female.  

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the funeral home, contending that transgender discrimination violated Title VII's ban on sex discrimination. A federal judge in Detroit granted summary judgment to the funeral home, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed, finding in favor of the EEOC.

In 2019, Ms. Stephens intervened in the case as a plaintiff, expressing doubt that the Trump EEOC would continue to vigorously pursue her position in the litigation.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the Sixth Circuit decision, and oral argument was held in October 2019. Ms. Stephens was able to attend the oral argument in Washington, D.C.

The Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision in this case, as well as two cases involving sexual orientation discrimination and Title VII, any time now.

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
Continue Reading



Back to Page