Posts tagged Bathrooms.

This case will blow your mind.

Asserting that the U.S. Department of Justice “must interpret Title VII as written by Congress,” the DOJ is reversing the Obama-era interpretation of Title VII, taking the position that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity.

In a memorandum issued this week by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the DOJ formally withdrew a 2014 memorandum by then-Attorney General Eric Holder taking the contrary position.

Attorney General Sessions contends that transgender individuals are protected from discrimination based on sex, but not based on “gender identity per se.” He noted that Title VII refers only to discrimination based on “sex,” which is “ordinarily defined to mean biologically male or female.” He also noted that Congress had specifically referred to gender identity in other contexts, indicating that it would have done so in Title VII had that been its intent. Finally, he said that Title VII did not prohibit treatment “that [took] account of the sex of employees but [did] not impose different burdens on similarly situated members of each sex,” specifically referencing sex-specific bathrooms.

The memorandum concludes as follows:

The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals. Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis of gender identity, or to express a policy view on whether Congress should amend Title VII to provide different or additional protections. Nor does this memorandum remove or reduce the protections against discrimination on the basis of sex that Congress has provided all individuals, including transgender individuals, under Title VII. . . . The Department of Justice has vigorously enforced [federal laws specifically protecting transgender individuals], and will continue to do so, on behalf of all Americans, including transgender Americans.

The DOJ position is not a surprise, given that it recently submitted a “friend of the court” brief making roughly the same arguments in a sexual orientation discrimination case.

Jill Stricklin
Jill Stricklin

NOTE FROM ROBIN: A portion of Jill's remarks below appeared Tuesday morning in Law360 (paid subscription required).

Notwithstanding what might happen over the next four (or eight) years, there is no question that President Barack Obama has left his mark on labor and employment law in some very important ways. Even if President-Elect Trump’s administration and the ...

Roberts v. Clark County (NV) School District involved a female-to-male transgender police officer. Although the School District later changed its policy, when Bradley Roberts first told the District in 2011 that he was presenting as a male, he was told that he could not use the men's room until he submitted proof of gender reassignment surgery. But he wasn't allowed to use the ...

In one of the many lawsuits* filed in North Carolina related to the notorious H.B. 2, Judge Thomas Schroeder of the Middle District of North Carolina has preliminarily enjoined the University of North Carolina from enforcing the "bathroom" provisions of the law with respect to three individual transgender plaintiffs. Here is a copy of Judge Schroeder's decision.

*UPDATE ...

As of October 1, “places of public accommodation” in Massachusetts will be prohibited from discriminating based on gender identity. That is, persons accessing a “place of public accommodation” must be permitted to use gender-segregated locations (such as restrooms and locker rooms) consistent with their gender identity. Any place that is open to and accepts or solicits ...

It's been a while since I've written about H.B. 2, the North Carolina "bathroom bill," and I need to get with it.

Wrongful discharge claim based on discrimination is back. As we expected, on July 18, Gov. Pat McCrory signed into law H.B. 169, which amends H.B. 2 by restoring the cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy based on the North Carolina Equal ...

I don't plan to post much more about North Carolina's HB 2 "bathroom bill" until we start getting court decisions, but this is newsworthy.

As I've previously noted, HB 2 had a provision that eliminated the cause of action for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy based on violations of the N.C. Equal Employment Practices Act, NCGS Section 143-422.2. That law says that it ...

Well, maybe not light reading, but good reading about good news that you won't want to miss! Here are our bulletins and other publications from the last week, in case you missed them:

*Heather Owen is already shooting off Fourth of July fireworks at the FOCUS women's leadership blog because our firm was named this week by the National Law Journal as the fourth best law firm in the ...

The U.S. Department of Justice sent a letter yesterday to Gov. Pat McCrory, giving him until Monday, May 9, to "confirm" that he does not plan to enforce the "bathroom" provisions of HB 2 as they apply to public agencies. If he fails to confirm, the DOJ is putting him on notice that he and the State of North Carolina are engaged in a "pattern or practice" of discrimination against ...

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). 
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