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Tags: texas | eeoc | lbgt | bathroom | pronouns

Texas Sues Federal Agency Over LGBT Bathroom and Pronoun Guidance

ken paxton speaks onstage at cpac
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Feb. 27, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 20 September 2021 01:28 PM

Texas is suing a federal agency, alleging that it misstated a law that protects gay and transgender workers.

State Attorney General Ken Paxton argues that guidance issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) "misstates the law" to allow exceptions for LGBT employees from general workplace policies on bathrooms, dress codes and locker rooms, Bloomberg Law reported Monday.

In a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Paxton says the June 15 EEOC guidance improperly interprets the Supreme Court's 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. The court decided that gay and transgender workers are protected under a federal anti-discrimination law.

"That guidance misstates the law, increasing the scope of liability for the State in its capacity as an employer — and [EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows] did not even have authority to issue it," the suit alleges.

Texas and its agencies, such as the state Department of Agriculture, have the right to establish their own workplace policies, the complaint alleges.

"TDA has both unisex single-occupancy bathrooms and bathrooms that are designated by sex. It interprets 'sex' as referring to biological sex rather than gender identity," the lawsuit says. "If any employee wanted to use the bathrooms designated for the opposite sex, TDA would reject such a request."

A coalition of 20 states also challenged the guidance in a Tennessee federal court last month, and a group of Republican attorneys general condemned the guidance.

The District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee, led by Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III, maintains that the EEOC "issued 'interpretations' of federal anti-discrimination law far beyond what the statutory text, regulatory requirements, judicial precedent, and the Constitution permit."

The Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sex or sexual orientation or identity.

The court did not, however, rule on the issue of sex-segregated bathrooms or locker rooms.

"But that has not stopped" federal agencies such as the EEOC from trying, Slatery argues.

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Texas is suing a federal agency, alleging that it misstated a law that protects gay and transgender workers. State Attorney General Ken Paxton argues that guidance issued by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity ...
texas, eeoc, lbgt, bathroom, pronouns
338
2021-28-20
Monday, 20 September 2021 01:28 PM
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