California employers and others cannot discriminate against a worker because he or she is transgender. That was the ruling from the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in a case involving a woman who revealed to her boss that she was beginning her transition. The funeral home where she worked terminated her, citing the company owner's religious beliefs. However, the court ruled that Title VII protected transgender workers from discrimination.
The court also found that forcing the owner of the company to abide by Title VII's protections would not place an undue burden on him. Ultimately, the court decided that there was no religious exemption under the law as it applied to how the woman was treated. Its decision was 3-0 in favor of the employee, and the EEOC assisted with the lawsuit against the woman's employer. The decision by the 6th Circuit overruled a lower court decision that found that the funeral home would have faced an undue burden by retaining her.
In a statement, the employee who was terminated said that she was happy with the decision and that no one should be fired for being themselves. In addition to the ruling in that case, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of the estate of a man who claimed that he was fired after revealing that he was gay.
Individuals who face discrimination at work may wish to take legal action against their employers. Doing so may result in a person obtaining financial compensation or reinstatement to a former position. In some cases, interest may be added to any back pay to which a worker is entitled. Individuals who are considering taking legal action may want to talk with an attorney. Legal counsel may be able to review a case and determine how to proceed.