Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton slapped the Biden administration with a lawsuit on September 20, slamming their latest guidance from the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) affirming LGBTQ workplace protections.
The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of Texas federal court, challenges the landmark Bostock v. Clayton Supreme Court ruling protecting workers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The 19-page complaint denounces the EEOC’s directive released in June stating that employers must allow transgender employees to use bathrooms, locker rooms, and other public accommodations that align with their gender identity. The directive also prohibits discriminatory dress codes and requires employers to use a trans employee’s correct pronouns.
Paxton believes this guidance places an unfair burden on employers in the state.
“This unlawful guidance increases the scope of liability for all employers, including the State of Texas in its capacity as an employer. Under our system, States have the sovereign right to enact their own policies regarding things such as bathroom usage, and this is an extreme federal overreach by the federal government,” the lawsuit reads.
If the Biden Administration thinks they can force states to comply with their political agenda, I will fight against their radical attempt at social change. https://t.co/ss5PqBJ4Sd
— Texas Attorney General (@TXAG) September 20, 2021
In the lawsuit, Paxton also defended anti-LGBTQ employment practices such as misgendering. According to the EEOC, using the wrong pronouns and names for a transgender worker constitutes workplace harassment.
“TDA (Texas Department of Agriculture) does not have a policy of directing its employees to use pronouns based on gender identity to refer to other employees,” the lawsuit states. “It also does not discipline employees based on any use of pronouns based on biological sex rather than the gender identity of other employees. If any employee wanted TDA to require other employees to use pronouns based on gender identity, TDA would reject such a request.”
The EEOC’s guidance released on June 15 builds on last year’s LGBTQ workplace protection case, “which held that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) includes employment discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status.”
Earlier this year, the Biden administration also signed an executive order directing federal agencies to uphold the Supreme Court’s decision on LGBTQ workplace rights.
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