Religion Can’t Be Used to Justify Workplace Discrimination, Court Rules

(From NBC News)

This week saw two major developments in federal anti-discrimination law as it relates to LGBTQ workers and religious freedom. On Wednesday, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found that a transgender employee, who was fired after coming out to her boss, was unlawfully discriminated against. That same day, Lambda Legal filed an appeal in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of a man whose employment offer was rescinded when his prospective employer learned of his sexual orientation.

While the 6th Circuit is not the first appeals court to find Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits workplace discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation, it is the first to assert that there is no freedom-of-religion exemption to Title VII.

In a 3-0 decision, the court sided with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] and transgender employee Aimee Stephens, who was fired from a Detroit funeral home after she informed her employer that she was transgender and beginning her transition. The court ruled that Title VII protects trans workers and that an employer’s religious beliefs cannot be used to justify discrimination.

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