Supreme Court to Hear Transgender Bathroom Case

Labor & Employment @lert

Date: November 01, 2016

The U.S. Supreme Court has granted review to the high-profile Virginia case about a high school student’s right to use the bathroom designated for the gender of his preference.

Gloucester High School senior Gavin Grimm obtained favorable rulings from the District Court and the Court of Appeals affirming his right to use the boys’ bathroom. In January 2015, the U.S. Department of Education promulgated a policy under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, stating that schools are required to honor a student’s gender choice. Grimm was born “biologically” female, but now presents and identifies as male. He has legally changed his name, has a state identification card identifying him as male, and has facial hair and a deep voice as a result of hormone therapy. Grimm’s school had permitted him to use the bathroom of his choice, but the Gloucester County School Board intervened and voted to change that policy.

Though the issue presented is relatively narrow, the case is likely to have much wider implications. If the Department of Education’s position is affirmed, it is likely to establish the precedent that bias based on transgender status in the workplace is considered unlawful sexual discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. A decision in the case is expected before the end of the term in late spring.


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Stephen Richey

M. Scott Young

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