Jeff Sessions Reverses Civil Rights Law’s Transgender Protection

Attorney General Jeff Sessions declared that the federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from workplace discrimination.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions stated on Oct. 5 that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 will not protect transgender people from being discriminated against in the workplace. This move reverses an Obama administration policy issued three years ago.

Sessions’ memo said that the anti-discrimination law does not apply to people who are transgender or are discriminated against based upon their gender identity. However Sessions does think that it applies to discrimination based on a biological sex, according to The New York Times.

“The Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals. Nothing in this memorandum should be construed to condone mistreatment on the basis of gender identity, or to express a policy view on whether Congress should amend Title VII to provide different or additional protections,” Sessions said in his policy according to BuzzFeed News.

Sam Schwartz-Fenwick, attorney at Seyfarth Shaw LLP, explained how the reversal could possibly impact workplaces.

“I think it creates uncertainty. Whenever the federal government reverses a stance it makes it challenging for the employers and the employer community to know what the law requires,” Schwartz-Fenwick said.

Advocates of equal rights for members of the transgender community argued the reversal and promised to sue the administration.

“Today’s announcement is the latest example of how the Trump administration and the Sessions Justice Department are undermining equal rights and dignity for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals,” said Vanita Gupta, president and chief executive of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, according to the Washington Post.

The reversal was announced around the same time the Trump administration is litigating Trump’s proposed ban on transgender service members in the military, according to CNN politics.

Alexis Carpello is a Workforce intern. Comment below or email editors@workforce.com.