6th District court rules gender identity is protected by Title VII
The Sixth District court ruled this week that transgender man Mykel Mickens, a former employee at GE Appliances in Louisville, can legally pursue sex-discrimination claims against the company after being fired in June.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which includes Kentucky within its jurisdiction, has ruled transgender workers can pursue Title VII sex bias claims contained within the 1964 civil rights act if an employer discriminated based on their failure to conform with gender stereotypes.
Five other federal appeals courts also have allowed sex bias claims by transgender individuals based on the gender stereotyping theory, Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights told Bloomberg BNA Nov. 30.
Former GE employee Mykel Mickens plausibly alleged that the company permitted his colleagues to harass him and that it ultimately fired him because he didn’t conform to gender stereotypes about how someone born female should look and act, the district court said Nov. 29.
Among other things, Mickens claimed GE prevented him from using the men’s bathroom, consistent with his gender identity, and then disciplined him for absences caused by his need to use a more distant restroom.
Mykel Mickens made news when the Kentucky Moter Vehicle department denied his request to correct the gender marker on his driver’s license.
The steps needed to change gender markers in conservative states are, as a rule, not well defined and the process is often made more difficult by biased state employees. One transgender activist wrote about their success in navigating the Kentucky motor vehicle bureaucracy here.