Transgender employees (and students) continue to face uphill challenges in fair treatment in work and education environments. Now, the latest attack – a legal one – against transgender workers and students comes from the attorneys general of 20 Republican-led states.
The attorneys general of those states filed a lawsuit against the President Biden administration seeking to stop federal sex discrimination protections to LGBTQ people. Those protections run the gamut and include allowing transgender girls to participate in school sports as week as the use of workplace bathrooms aligning to a person’s gender identity.
Fear states’ rights ignored
The lawsuit was filed on Aug. 30 by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery in federal court in Knoxville. Slatery’s contention was that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Department of Education held a flawed legal interpretation of U.S. Supreme Court case law.
Last year, the high court ruled in a landmark civil rights law – including a provision known as Title VII — protected gay, lesbian and transgender people from employment discrimination.
The state attorneys general seek clear court declarations regarding Title VII in the workplace and Title IX for schools. For example, the plaintiffs do not want the provisions to prohibit employers and schools from:
- Having bathrooms, locker rooms and showers separated by biological sex.
- Using a transgender individual’s preferred pronouns.
- Not allowing workplace dress codes based on a person’s biological sex.
In June, the EEOC released directives as to what constituted discrimination against LGBTQ people and provided guidance as to how the public could file complaints. The attorneys general claim that by enforcing these federal guidelines, such actions would threaten their states’ rights, leading to certain liability and endanger federal funding.
Attorneys general from the following states filed the lawsuit: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee and West Virginia.
It seems that the top legal officers of 20 states just do not understand the challenges and difficulties faced by anyone who is LGBTQ and seemingly support discrimination. This should not happen. If you face any such discrimination in the workplace, understand that you have legal options.