US: Government makes history by filing first transgender discrimination cases

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The US Government has made history by filing its first two trans-related gender discrimination cases.

Earlier this year, the federal government found for the first time that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act – a 1964 anti-sexism law that bans gender discrimination – could be used to protect transgender people.

This week, the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed its first two trans-related cases under the law, since it came into effect.

Sarah Warbelow of Human Rights Campaign said: “The lawsuits filed today by the EEOC are historic and a giant step toward ensuring American workers are judged based on the work they do, and not their gender identity.

“Transgender people continue to face some of the highest levels of discrimination in the workplace.

“The EEOC has the ability to alleviate these problems now and deserves immense praise for tackling the issue head on.”

The two cases were filed against employers on behalf of Amiee Stephens of Michigan and Brandi Branson of Florida.

Ms Stephens was fired from R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home after she transitioned to female, while Ms Branson was fired from Lakeland Eye Clinic after announcing her transition.

Attorney Robert Weisberg told the Miami Herald: “The issue of coverage for transgender individuals was a question that needed further development as a community that’s been subjected to severe and pervasive discrimination.

“We hope that this complaint and this litigation serves as an educational opportunity for the public, for employers at large and for other individuals that may be discriminated against.”

Human Rights Campaign wrote: “This is the first time the EEOC has used the protections of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to bring lawsuits challenging discrimination based upon gender identity

“HRC continues to advocate for explicit, legislated workplace protections at all levels of government for LGBT people.”.