18 December 2014

Title VII Includes Us Now--For Now

The US Department of Justice will now interpret Federal law to explicitly prohibit workplace discrimination against transgender people.

Yes, you read that right.  It was announced in a memo just released by Attorney General Eric Holder. 

Holder's memo means that the Justice Department now can bring legal claims on behalf of people who say state and local employers have discriminated against them based on their gender identity. 

It also means that the Justice Department is reversing its 2006 statement that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which bars sex discrimination, does not cover discrimination based on gender identity.

While I welcome this change, I wish that Title VII could be amended or otherwise changed--or another law written altogether--with language that specifically protects gender identity and gender-variant people.  After all, a DoJ led by an Attorney General appointed by a future President more conservative than Obama could reverse today's ruling just as it reversed its 2006 ruling.

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