Courts LGBTQ On the Hill

Trans Woman Fired for Coming Out Awaits Supreme Court Judgement

Aimee Stephens was fired from RG and GR Harris Funeral Homes in 2013 for coming out as trans to her (now ex) boss, Thomas Rost. Rost testified in court documents that he fired Stephens because she “wanted to dress as a woman” which would be a “distraction not appropriate” for grieving families. 

Following her firing, Stephens reached out to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) which agreed to sue the company. After many mixed decisions in lower courts, the case has now been taken up by the Supreme Court. In what could be a landmark decision for civil rights in this country, the court will decide after hearing this case, whether or not the federal civil rights law barring job discrimination based on sex can apply to transgender people. 

This decision comes at a time when policies protecting the transgender community such as being allowed to use school bathrooms based on one’s own identity and serving openly in the military have been rolled back. 

Stephens’ case will be heard in court on October 8 and will be followed by two other cases dealing with the discrimination of LGBTQIA+ people. Along with deciding if the law protects transgender people, the justices will also decide if it covers sexual orientation.  

Despite serious health problems over the years, Stephens has continued her legal fight. “I felt what they did to me wasn’t right. In fact, it was downright wrong. But I also realized it wasn’t just me, that there were others in the world facing the same tune,” emphasized Stephens while talking about her continued legal battle. 

Source: NBC 9/30/19, The Guardian 9/30/19

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