Tue. Jun 18th, 2024

18 states sue the Biden administration over transgender worker protections

By 37ci3 May14,2024

Eighteen Republican-led states sued the Biden administration late Monday over new federal guidance aimed at protecting transgender Americans from discrimination in the workplace.

One filed a lawsuit against The attorneys general of 18 states, including Tennessee, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Department of Justice have argued that the federal agency’s new rules illegally force employers to recognize transgender workers’ pronouns and allow trans workers to use restrooms and wear clothing. coincides with their gender identity.

They argue that in doing so, the EEOC improperly expanded Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on sex, among other categories.

“In America, the Constitution gives the power to make laws to elected representatives of the people, not to unaccountable commissioners, and this EEOC directive is an attack on our constitutional separation of powers,” Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti said in the statement Monday. “When, as here, a federal agency engages in government over the people instead of government by the people, it undermines the legitimacy of our laws and alienates Americans from our legal system.”

The EEOC is a bipartisan agency within the Department of Labor created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to administer and enforce protections against discrimination in the workplace. It is headed by five commissioners appointed by the president, while the ruling party has three commissioners.

Skrmetti said in a statement that the new guidance “abuses federal power to eliminate women’s personal space and penalize the use of biologically accurate pronouns, all at the expense of Tennessee employers.”

In addition to Tennessee, the states in the suit include Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia.

An EEOC spokesperson referred NBC News to the Department of Justice for comment. A DOJ spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The EEOC’s new rules on transgender workers are part of a broader package of workplace harassment guidelines the agency released last month.

Its guidance on workplace harassment of LGBTQ people cites the 2020 Supreme Court decision Bostock v. Clayton County. This decision found that discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity is classified as sex-based discrimination prohibited by Title VII.

18 attorneys general cite the landmark 2020 ruling in their lawsuits, but say they interpret the ruling differently than the EEOC. They argue that the Supreme Court does not intend to force employers to make accommodations related to employees’ gender identity and sexual orientation. Instead, they argue, the court’s ruling was narrower, preventing employers from firing employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Neither Title VII, Bostock, nor any other federal precedent gives the EEOC license to impose a gender identity placement mandate, which precludes consideration of fundamental questions and raises constitutional concerns,” the lawsuit said.

Earlier this month, more than 20 Republican-led states, including the 14 that sued the EEOC on Monday, sued v. Department of Education over its new rules to protect transgender students in federally funded schools. And last month, a group of Republican-led states filed a similar lawsuit v. EEOC over its new rules to allow employees time off for abortions.

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By 37ci3

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