For the first time, U.S Supreme Court hears a case concerning the rights of transgender. Harris Funeral Homes case would decide whether the trans are covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which provides the protection to employees against any kind of discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin, and religion.
The transgender case involves Aimee Stephens who was fired from her job at Harris Funeral Homes after she informed her boss and colleagues about her gender transition.
Hired in 2007, Stephens worked at Harris Funeral Homes for six years as a funeral director. The employment records identify Stephens as a man. In July 2013, Stephens wrote a letter to her employer; Rost. This letter read that, “Stephens identified as a woman and wanted to wear women's clothing to work.”
After two weeks Stephens was fired from the job because the owner believed that allowing Stephens to wear women's clothes would violate the funeral home's dress code and that he would be 'violating God's commands' by allowing Stephens to dress in women's clothing. It was at this moment Stephens realized that somebody gotta stop this discrimination and she would be happy to be that person.
Stephens was only one of the thousands of the victims of employment discrimination. According to the U.S. Transgender Survey, transgender people are a common target of employment discrimination in the United States, with 1 in 6 reporting employment discrimination.
They are not only frequently fired form the workplaces but are also paid fewer wages and granted fewer opportunities to take the lead. It is common to remove them from the client-facing positions.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is a federal law that prohibits employers from discriminating against the employees on any basis. It ensures that no woman is treated worse than a man and vice versa. Does it guarantee the same civil rights to transgender as well? It is unknown how the Harris Funeral Homes case would conclude, but a verdict advocating the workplace rights of transgenders would certainly be a step towards greater rights and protection for transgender in the U.S.