Trump Administration Tells Supreme Court That Transgender Workers Are Not Protected Under Civil Rights Law

The Trump administration’s justice department recently filed a brief with the Supreme Court, arguing that transgender workers are not a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Without protection under the Civil Rights Act, transgender workers can legally be fired on the basis of their gender identity. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act officially prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Those who disagree with the Trump administration argue that transgender status ought to be included as a form of sex discrimination. The Trump administration is arguing that sex discrimination only includes discrimination on the basis of biological sex. 

Does Sex Discrimination Include Transgender Discrimination?

The brief that the Trump administration submitted to the Supreme Court argued that gender identity discrimination is different than sex discrimination. This difference means that employers can legally discriminate on the basis of gender identity. The brief, submitted by Solicitor General Noel J. Francisco and other Justice Department lawyers, stated “In 1964, the ordinary public meaning of ‘sex’ was biological sex. It did not encompass transgender status . . . it was especially clear that the prohibition on discrimination because of ‘sex’ referred to unequal treatment of men and women in the workplace.” Those who disagree with the Trump administration argue that the meaning of sex discrimination has evolved since 1964, and the law should now also prohibit discrimination on the basis of transgender status. 

Could Including Transgender Discrimination In Title VII Have Unexpected Consequences?

The Trump administration’s brief also argued that including transgender discrimination as a form of sex discrimination would have unexpected consequences for non-transgender women. “It will deny women and girls fair opportunities to compete in sports, to ascend to the winner’s podium, and to receive critical scholarships . . . it will also require domestic-abuse shelters to allow men to sleep in the same room as female survivors of rape and violence. And it may dictate that doctors and hospitals provide transition services even in violation of their religious beliefs.” Here, the brief suggests that, in order to prevent illegal discrimination, transgender women would compete in women’s sports and stay in women’s shelters. The Supreme Court is set to decide whether the Civil Rights Act protects transgender people from discrimination this October. Depending on how the Supreme Court rules on the issue this Fall, we may or may not see these predictions come to fruition. Do you think discrimination on the basis of sex should include gender identity discrimination?

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you have experienced sex discrimination in the workplace, seek legal assistance today. The Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City, can assist you. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.