May 19, 2024
“In America, the Constitution gives the power to make laws to the people’s elected representatives, not to unaccountable commissioners, and this EEOC guidance is an attack on our constitutional separation of powers,” Skrmetti said in a statement.

Republican-Led States Sue Biden Administration Over New Transgender Protections

Eighteen Republican-led states are suing the Biden administration’s Equal Employment Opportunity Commission over the federal agency’s new sexual-harassment guidance that enforces broad legal protections for transgender workers.

The federal lawsuit, filed on Monday by Tennessee attorney general Jonathan Skrmetti, argues that the EEOC is overstepping its constitutional limits by unlawfully placing gender identity under the purview of Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin.

The states agree with the 2020 Supreme Court ruling, Bostock v. Clayton County, that firing employees because they are transgender or gay constitutes sex-based discrimination. The plaintiffs, however, argue that the decision does not weigh on the accommodations that the EEOC required employers to abide by last month.

On April 29, the commission updated its workplace-harassment guidance for the first time in nearly 25 years, requiring employers to use transgender workers’ preferred pronouns and allowing them to use bathrooms corresponding with their gender identity. Employers may be held liable if they, their employees, or the customers do not follow the new policy and its provisions.

The multistate coalition acknowledges that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ensures equal opportunity for women in the workplace, but contends that the EEOC lacks the power to mandate that employers provide accommodations to transgender workers.

“EEOC has no authority to resolve these highly controversial and localized issues, which are properly reserved for Congress and the states,” the 46-page lawsuit states.

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