The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has, for the first time ever, filed federal lawsuits on behalf of transgender workers fired by employers because of the gender identity/gender expression.
EEOC filed suit against R.G & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes of Garden City, Mich., on behalf of embalmer and funeral director Amiee Stephens, and against Lakeland Eye clinic in Florida on behalf of Brandi Branson, according to reports by CBS channel WWJ-TV in Detroit.
Stephens was fired in 2013 after 6 years with the Garden City funeral home when she told her boss she was transitioning from male to female. That lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
Branson was fired from her job as director of hearing services at Lakeland Eye in 2011 after saying that she would be transitioning from male to female. The lawsuit in her case, filed in a Tampa federal court, alleges that when Branson began wearing “feminine attire” to work, including makeup and “women’s tailored clothing,” she saw her coworkers snickering and rolling their eyes at her, and that coworkers “withdrew from social interactions with her.”
EEOC attorney Laurie Young told the Detroit TV station that federal law “prohibits employers from firing employees because they do not behave according to the employer’s stereotypes of how men and women should act.”