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Court backs transgender worker's discrimination charges

LGBTQ employees in New York may want to know more about the latest developments in federal circuit courts regarding cases involving workplace discrimination. Recent rulings and appeals have indicated that employers cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In one ruling, the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found in favor of a transgender employee who was terminated after she revealed to her employer that she was transitioning.

There are no explicit provisions against sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, the law prevents sex discrimination, and several federal appeals courts have found that this was at the root of unlawful firings of some LGBTQ employees. In addition, the recent 6th Circuit ruling took a new step in rejecting a defense proffered by the employer in the case. The Detroit-area funeral home argued that forbidding discrimination against transgender workers infringed on the business owner's freedom of religion.

In a 3-0 decision, the court sided with the transgender worker and U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Ultimately, the court ruled that the religious beliefs of the business owner suffered no substantial burden by being required to comply with Title VII's proscriptions.

LGBTQ employees have frequently faced harassment, demotions, firings and other forms of employment discrimination. On-the-job discrimination based on race, sex, religion, disability, age or national origin is illegal. An employment lawyer can work with an employee who has faced discrimination. After reviewing the case, legal counsel could aim to seek justice and accountability.

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