DOJ Reverses Stance on Transgender Workplace Protections

Human Resource professionals, managers, anyone who has a job, or anyone looking for a job should take note. According to this article, it appears that the current administration has plans to reverse many of the employment policies passed under the previous administration. As an example, several days ago Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo stating that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (which bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sex) does not protect individuals against discrimination on the basis of “gender identity per se, including discrimination against transgender individuals.” The memo explains that the Justice Department’s (DOJ) position is now that “sex,” as used in Title VII, means only “biologically male or female.” This reverses a 2014 policy from the Justice Department directly to the contrary.  However, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC—the federal agency tasked with enforcing Title VII) position is still firmly that transgender status is protected under Title VII. The article suggests that until this issue is settled by the courts, it is likely that we will continue to see a confusing and contradictory approach applied by the EEOC and the Department of Justice.