Jeff Sessions Reverses Policy That Protected Transgender Employees
It's a new day, and with it comes another anti-LGBT action taken by a member of Donald Trump's administration.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is reversing the Justice Department's policy that protected transgender employees from discrimination, under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
From Buzzfeed News:
Sessions’ directive, obtained by BuzzFeed News, says, “Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status.”
It adds that the government will take this position in pending and future matters, which could have far-reaching implications across the federal government and may result in the Justice Department fighting against transgender workers in court.
“Although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se,” Sessions writes. “This is a conclusion of law, not policy. As a law enforcement agency, the Department of Justice must interpret Title VII as written by Congress.”
The Hill adds:
Title VII specifically bars employers from discriminating against employees based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion.
But several federal courts have ruled that Title VII's protections extend to gender identity, as well, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency responsible for enforcing federal workplace discrimination laws, also maintains that position.
Under the Obama administration, former Attorney General Eric Holder issued a memo in 2014 announcing that the Justice Department would take the position that Title VII "encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status."