Funeral Home at Center of Sex and Gender Identity Lawsuit

Tom Rost’s five-generation funeral home in Detroit will be in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court when it hears oral arguments in his appeal from a decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, which ruled that discrimination in the workplace on the basis of “sex” as used in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 included “gender identity.”

The controversy arose when Anthony Stephens, a long-time employee of R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, who now identifies as a woman, sought to dress accordingly in violation of the company’s sex-specific dress code, which he had adhered to for six years. Rost ultimately fired Stephens out of consideration of the needs of grieving families and also that of an older female employee who would have had to share a restroom with him.

Even though the policy was consistent with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission standards, the EEOC filed a lawsuit against the funeral home alleging workplace discrimination.

Alliance Defending Freedom will argue Tom’s case at the U.S. Supreme Court, which is set for October 8.

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