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On October 4, 2017, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions released a directive revising the treatment of transgender employment discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by stating that the federal law does not protect transgender individuals from workplace discrimination based on sex. This is in opposition to former Attorney General Eric Holder’s stance in his December 15, 2014 memo that Title VII prohibition of sex discrimination does apply to discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status.

Sessions’ memo directs the Justice Department that the term “sex” in Title VII is applicable “only to discrimination between men and women and does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity, per se, including transgender status.” Sessions also withdrew the 2014 memo and directed the department to take this updated position regarding transgender status “in all pending and future matters, except where controlling lower-court precedent dictates otherwise, in which event the issue should be preserved for potential further review.”

Sessions added that the Justice Department must and will continue to affirm the dignity of all people, including transgender individuals, and nothing in the memo should be construed to condone mistreatment based on gender identity.

Read the memo