Saturday, January 5, 2019

Phillips 66 Won’t Wade Into LGBT Debate in Defense of Bias Claim

The very high price of corporate anti-equality positions: 40 years later Price Waterhouse is still taking it on the chin for telling Ann Hopkins to curl her hair in order to get an accounting firm promotion.

This Bloomberg story is about Nicole Wittmer's case against Phillips66 for anti-trans discrimination, now before the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, which covers cases in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. It explains the reluctance of the corporation to take an anti-equality stance despite its rescission of her hire offer after she disclosed her trans status. (Phillips66 says the decision makers didn't know, and based their rescission on its assumption that she was still employed, though she was not.)

But the most interesting part is Pricewaterhousecoopers' response to the reporter's inquiry, based on the insightful comment by the amazing Greg Nevins of Lambda Legal about Price Waterhouse not realizing it would be the face of discrimination. In Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228 (1989), SCOTUS established the principle that sex discrimination prohibitions include gender discrimination. In other words, it's not biology that triggers legal protections, but employer's stereotypical perceptions of what men and women should be like. This has been the basis for nearly all of the many federal decisions finding that trans people are protected from sex discrimination under federal law.

Pricewaterhousecoopers is on the diversity bandwagon today. They have a 100% score on the HRC LGBTQ Corporate Equality Index. But their name will live in infamy.

There is another story to be told about the court-appointed amicus brief arguing that trans people shouldn't be protected from sex discrimination. It is poorly written and nonsensical, though still potentially dangerous. Watch this space for Part II. The story is here:

See this link: