A former transgender funeral director recently won a favorable decision against Michigan-based R.G & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes for discrimination. The former funeral director was transitioning from a male to a female when she was fired from Harris Funeral Homes in 2013 after disclosing her secret.
Three appellate judges in the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals voted in favor of the transgender woman and against Harris Funeral Homes declaring that “businesses cannot discriminate against employees for identifying as transgender.” According to a staff attorney for the Michigan American Civil Liberties Union, this is a victory showing that transgender individuals are protected by federal laws and cannot be discriminated against based on their sex.
A lower court had previously ruled that employers could be exempted from anti-discrimination laws based on their religious beliefs. The Sixth Circuit Appeals Court reversed this ruling, which was argued per the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The appellate judges apparently argued that no employer’s religious beliefs gave them a “license to discriminate against transgender people.”
A decision by Harris Funeral Homes on whether to appeal the court’s decision is being considered, according to an attorney with the Alliance Defending Freedom. The attorney accused the decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of rewriting federal law that is contrary to rulings made by other appellate courts.
Federal laws are written for the people — for “all” the people. Michigan enforces state and federal discrimination laws to protect its citizens.
If you or someone you know believes they have been discriminated against in the workplace, they should take a stand for what is right. Whether the discrimination is based on race, age, sex, religious beliefs or any other violation of one’s rights, legal counsel can help protect your civil liberties.
Source: Michiganradio.org, “Federal appeals court gives workplace non-discrimination protection to transgender individuals,” Virginia Gordan, March 08, 2018