EEOC Settles its First Transgender Suit Filed Under Title VII – Risk Management Magazine April 25, 2015

The EEOC has decided to pursue protections for transgender workers under Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination and harassment as part of its strategic mission, even though no federal statute, including Title VII, explicitly prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity or expression.

To this end, the EEOC filed two lawsuits on Sept. 25, 2014 on behalf of transgender workers –EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A. (Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division) and EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. (Eastern District of Michigan, Southern Division) — on behalf of transgender workers.

On April 9, Judge Mary S. Scriven of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida approved a consent decree entered into between the EEOC and Lakeland Eye Clinic, P.A. settling one of the two lawsuits. The terms of the Consent Decree, including the nature of the programmatic relief required by the EEOC make it crystal clear that this is an area that the EEOC will continue to pursue in 2015 and beyond.

(Pam – the Lakeland Eye Clinic plaintiff is a friend of Jamey’s. These two enforcement actions may be landmarks in employment protection for the transgender.)