According to a ruling handed down by the U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada, the Clark County School District discriminated against a transgender male employee when it prevented him from using both the women’s and men’s work restrooms. Maryland residents might find it interesting that the court’s decision was based on its interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission believes that the protections afforded by Title VII include the right of transgender individuals to use the appropriate restroom according to their gender identity. However, the decision by the district court is believed to be the first one that is in accord with the EEOC’s position. An LGBT advocacy group hailed the decision as a major victory for transgender individuals.
The court indicated that Title VII’s prohibition of sex discrimination included all types of sex labels. It also stated that the intention of Congress was to not only prevent employers from considering a person’s gender to when making employment decisions, but it was to prevent the discrimination against individuals who do not follow sexual typecasting.
The majority of unresolved litigation regarding transgender issues concerns the claims by transgender students of sex discrimination under Title IX of the HIgher Education Amendments of 1972. These cases are questioning how much deference the courts should give to how the Department of Education interprets the sex discrimination protections provided by Title IX. For example, a school district in Virginia is requesting the the U.S. Supreme Court review a lower court decision that allows a transgender male student to use the boys’ restroom on the school campus.
It is not yet known whether the Nevada school district will appeal this workplace discrimination decision or whether other federal courts will follow its lead. Transgender employees who feel that they have been unfairly targeted by their employers may want to meet with an attorney to discuss their particular grievances.