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Title VII

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Department of Justice States That Title VII Prohibits Gender Identity and Transgender Discrimination

Title VII News – Attorney General Eric Holder announced on December 15, 2014 that the Department of Justice has taken the position that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.

This reverses the Department of Justice’s 2006 position that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “because of . . . sex” did not cover discrimination because of gender identity or transgender status.

Attorney General Holder noted that courts have reached different conclusions about whether Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “because of . . . sex” includes discrimination due to gender identity or transgender status. Some courts have allowed gender identity and transgender discrimination claims under a “sex stereotyping” theory, where an employee believes they were discriminated against due to his or her failure to live up to socially constructed expectations of how men and women should look and act. This is the first time the Department of Justice stated that Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination “because of . . . sex” also forbids discrimination because of gender identity or transgender status in and of itself, and not using a “sex stereotyping” theory.

Attorney General Holder concluded, “My hope . . . is that this clarification of the Department’s position will foster consistent treatment of claimants throughout the government, in furtherance of this Department’s commitment to fair and impartial justice for all Americans.”

Transgender individuals face employment discrimination and unemployment at higher rates and are more likely than others to live in poverty. FDPK lawyers are committed to ensuring that all employees can work free of discrimination.

Click here to view the Department of Justice’s announcement: Title VII Memo

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