The Supreme Court has agreed to take up a case of a transgender funeral home worker fired because she is transgender.
Aimee Stephens worked at Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan for six years before coming out to her employer, who fired her explicitly because she is transgender. Stephens successfully challenged the firing at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and again at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, both of which ruled her dismissal was in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits sex discrimination in employment. These rulings align with more than two decades of federal case law finding Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender people.
Stephens’s case will be argued before the Supreme Court in the upcoming term, with a decision by late June. The Supreme Court also today said it will separately considered two cases on whether Title VII prohibited sexual orientation bias.
The Court’s decision to pick up this case could be of enormous consequence to 1.4 million transgender adults in the U.S., who are three times more likely to be unemployed and five times more likely to live in poverty than their counterparts in the general population.
Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality, gave the following statement:
“The Court’s decision to take this case is a historic turning point for transgender people across this country. Any decision by the Court on this matter could fundamentally alter the lives of people who already struggle to secure fair and equitable employment. Americans decided long ago that no person should have to fear losing their job because of who they are, and we hope the Supreme Court understands its responsibility to uphold established law and this enduring American value.”