The Mia Macy v. Eric Holder ruling states that an employer cannot disqualify a candidate simply because the candidate discloses that he or she is undergoing a sex-change operation. Essentially, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruling makes it clear that disqualifying the candidate because of gender identity violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

The facts of the case involved a police detective from Phoenix, Arizona who applied for a job at the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)’s crime lab in Walnut Creek, California. During the initial interview with the director, Macy presented as a man and was offered the position pending a background check. A few months later, Macy called to inform her agency that she was in the process of transitioning. Five days later, the crime lab rescinded her employment offer and hired another candidate to replace her.

It is not entirely clear whether constitutional protections would be afforded to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults at the Supreme Court level, but in this case, the EEOC extends Title VII protections to workers discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation. Thus, discriminatory treatment of transgender workers is a clear violation of labor law standards.

If you have experienced sexual orientation discrimination, our New York City, New Jersey or Philadelphia lawyers can help you properly proceed with your discrimination claim:

  • The plaintiff needs to establish a prima facie case by demonstrating a causal relationship between the challenged action (e.g., failure to promote, decision to hire, the decision to fire) and his or her sexual orientation.
  • The employer has the right to respond by producing a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the challenged action.
  • The plaintiff must show that the excuses presented by the employer are pretexts: sexual orientation was the real motivating factor for the challenged action.