US funeral home wins legal case to sack trans woman who asked to wear women’s clothes

PinkNews logo on pink background with rainbow corners.

A funeral home has won a legal battle after it sacked a trans employee who asked to wear women’s clothing.

The Garden City RG & GR Harris funeral home was sued back in 2014 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The commission filed the complaint after Aimee Stephens was sacked when she transitioned and began to wear women’s clothing.

But US District Judge Sean Cox on Thursday released a ruling on Thursday in the case.

The 56-page ruling suggests that the religious rights of the three-location funeral home owners would be impeded if Title VII discrimination law were applied to the case.

“The court finds that the funeral home has met its initial burden of showing that enforcement of Title VII, and the body of sex-stereotyping case law that has developed under it, would impose a substantial burden on its ability to conduct business in accordance with its sincerely held religious beliefs,” Cox wrote.

Stephens had worked as a funeral director at the firm for six years before she was sacked.

Title VII is a federal protection which prohibits discrimination in employment based on race, sex, national original or religion.

The battle for Stephens may not be over, as the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan said the ruling was “extremely disappointing”.

“This represents the staggering implications of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby case,” said Jay Kaplan, ACLU Michigan staff attorney.

The commission could still file an appeal in the case.