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Michigan workplace discrimination case heads to Supreme Court

| Apr 26, 2019 | Workplace Discrimination |

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case of a Michigan woman who contends her employer discriminated against her and fired her because she is transgender.

The woman alleges that she was wrongfully fired when she transitioned from a man into the woman and says the action was discriminatory.

She worked at a funeral home in Garden City, Michigan.

Under consideration will be whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans discrimination against gay or transgender employees. The Trump administration and religious rights group contend it does not; LGBTQ advocates are on the other side.

Officials of the funeral home said they were within their rights because, they say, business owners can’t be required to go against their religious beliefs. The religious belief, in this case, is that gender is given by God and can’t be altered.

A U.S. District judge in Detroit ruled in favor of the funeral home, stating transgender people are not a protected class. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision, stating that federal laws do protect the rights of transgender people.

The woman, 58, had worked at the funeral home, as a man, for six years and decided in 2013 to write an emotional letter to her employer stating that she would be having sex reassignment surgery and would start following the employer’s dress code for women.

The funeral home fired her two weeks later.

The Supreme Court also will be hearing the cases of two workers from other states who contend they were fired because they are gay. The court’s ruling in these cases will set a precedent as to how members of the LGBTQ community are treated in the workplace. If you believe you have been a victim of workplace discrimination, you are within your rights to consult an employment law attorney.

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