Business, Regulations

Plaintiff in funeral home discrimination suit dies this week

We learned earlier this week and it was reported in this USA Today article that states in part, “Aimee Stephens, a transgender Michigan woman whose case questioning whether federal law protected transgender individuals from job discrimination became the first of its kind to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court died Tuesday.  She was 59.”

Her case, Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, was heard by the United States Supreme Court in October 2019 and the decision by the court is expected to come any day this Spring.  You can read an article from last October in Funeral Director Daily to learn more about the case here.

According to the USA Today, “Stephens, who was a biologically assigned male at birth, confronted her boss at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home in Garden City (MI) in 2013, saying in a letter she wished to begin dressing as a woman at work after having done so outside of work for some time.  The funeral home owner, a devout Christian who had a strict gender-based dress code,  said it wouldn’t work out and eventually fired her.”

The USA Today article continued, “In 2018, a three-judge panel at the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled for Stephens, saying any kind of gender consideration must be “irrelevant” to employment decisions.”

Funeral Director Daily take:  The decision on this case is being anxiously awaited by many as it is seen as a landmark case that will help write the definition of discrimination in the workplace and its ramifications will go far beyond the funeral profession from where it originally came from.

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