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Case Becomes Test for LGBTQ Rights in Court

November 7th, 2018
lgbt workers rights

Bucks County LGBTQ discrimination lawyers fight for the rights of LGBTQ.A transgender woman who was fired from her job as a Michigan funeral home director may become the poster person for transgender rights, if the Supreme Court decides to hear the case involving her alleged wrongful termination. She still lives with the wife she had married when she considered herself a man.  Her wife said that she knew something was wrong with her husband prior to his coming out as a transgender woman, but she thought it was either depression or an affair. The fact that her spouse was transgender actually came as a relief, she said.

Coming Out and Getting Fired

The employee worked at the funeral home since 2007 and became an embalmer and funeral director from April 2008 until her wrongful termination in August 2013. She had sent a letter to her employer in the summer of 2013, stating that she was becoming a transgender woman, and would start appearing to work in female clothing. The funeral home had a strict dress code for employees, with men being required to wear suits and ties and women being required to wear business jackets and skirts. Her deeply religious Christian boss told her that the clothing change was not going to work in the family-owned funeral home, and offered her a severance package. The employee would not accept it and filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The federal agency later sued the funeral home.

The Lawsuit

In the initial lawsuit, the district court found that Title VII, the federal employment discrimination law, did not apply to transgender individuals. The court did, however, agree that the employee was discriminated against by her employer because she did not conform to female stereotypes. The EEOC appealed the ruling.

In March 2018, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the EEOC’s favor and stated that the funeral home was not entitled to a religious freedom defense. However, attorneys for the funeral home requested that the Supreme Court hear the case, determining whether Title VII applies to transgender people. Should the Supreme Court decide to hear the case, many in the transgender community expect it will prove the most important civil rights issues affecting transgender people, as it boils down to whether or not transgender people can keep their jobs when they make their transition. The funeral home’s lawyers argue that Title VII refers specifically to sex, which is not the same as gender identity. A funeral home lawyer stated that the difference changes the biological reality of sex to a subjective perception, and that making this shift has far-reaching consequences.

Bucks County LGBTQ Discrimination Lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Help Those Dealing with Wrongful Termination

If you or a loved one has experienced wrongful termination because of identifying as LGBTQ, you need the services the experienced Bucks County LGBTQ discrimination lawyers at The Gold Law Firm P.C. Call us today at 215-569-1999 or contact us online for a free consultation. We are centrally located in Philadelphia, and we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County.

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