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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

North Carolina federal court rules trans employee covered by Title VII

The United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina has ruled that a trans employee is covered by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  In Lewis v. High Point Regional Health System, the Court rejected the employer's argument that the lawsuit was barred by previous cases holding there is no cause of action under Title VII for discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Court recognized that sexual orientation is different from gender identity. 

The Court recognized that the EEOC’s amicus brief raised a question of whether plaintiff’s complaint fit within a gender-stereotyping framework. Because this issue was not raised in the defendant’s motion to dismiss, the Court declined to address it.  The Court did not cite to any of the usual cases involving trans discrimination, such as Smith v. Salem or Glenn v. Brumby. 

Ultimately, the Court dismissed the claim because the employee did not provide admissible information showing intentional discrimination.

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