DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s being called a big win with national significance for transgender rights.

A federal appeals court has ruled in favor of a woman who was fired by a Garden City funeral home after she disclosed she was transitioning from male to female, and began dressing like a woman.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home discriminated against director Aimee Stephens, formerly Anthony Stephens, by firing her in 2013.

Attorney Dan Korobkin with the American Civil Liberties Union says management never denied that Stephens was fired because she informed officials of her decision.

“In too many workplaces all of the country, coming out as trans is still seen as a fire-able offense,” Korobkin told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeill. “That’s exactly what was experienced by Amy Stephens in this case.”

“So this ruling,” he said, “affirms that that kind of firing is unlawful.”

The owners of the funeral home, who did not immediately return a call for comment, argued in court that transitioning to another gender is against their beliefs.

“That could be a religious belief that someone has, but at this same time most people understand that it’s wrong to decriminalize, and it’s wrong to fire someone from their job that they’re doing perfectly well just because they’re transgender.”

Attorney Doug Wardlow, who represented the business in the case v. the EEOC said Stephens violated the company’s sex-specific dress code and that employees are simply asked to dress “in a manner sensitive to grieving family members and friends.”

As far as the dress code is concerned, the EEOC learned the funeral home provided clothing to male workers dealing with the public but not females. The appellate judges ruled that it was reasonable for the EEOC to investigate and discover the “seemingly discriminatory clothing-allowance policy.”

In a 2016 interview with WWJ, Wardlow said his client was simply looking out for the best interests of the bereaved, adding that “Numerous courts have recognized that companies may differentiate between men and women in their dress and grooming policies without violating Title VII.”

The appellate court decision returns the case to a federal judge who had dismissed the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments (18)
  1. John Sorger says:

    Nobody wants to see some circus sideshow freak at a loved one’s funeral. It’s disrespectful.

  2. Paul Roberts says:

    As long as I can pick who I want to direct the funeral I have no problem with this. I would not want some man dressed as a Woman at my funeral or any relatives funeral because of my religious views. If I could pick who I want, then the Trans can serve his / her community and I do not care. They respect me, I respect them.

  3. Max Planck says:

    So the court is deciding how a company chooses to run its business. Trannys greeting people at a funeral is not what anyone wants to see. Except other trannys. And they are 0.03% of the population. Now this business either is getting fined or has to rehire this trans “Amiee” back to work. So liberal and trendy that we as a nation should be so proud!! (sarc)

  4. The weirdo puts the bodies of the deceased at risk of being defiled in a perverted act.

  5. Business owners. Do your homework before you hire. You’ll find a lot of nasty things which destroy your company and bankrupt you quickly. Demand emails and alternate emails from the applicant. That will lead you to many things when doing background checks. Saved me from hiring a lot of liberals who professionally sue employers and cause a decline in business. Your liability insurance pays out to make them go away. A lot like the auto insurance injury scammers.

  6. Elena George says:

    Was s/he fired for being odd or fired for not accomplishing the assigned duties?

    1. For not dressing like their born gender.

    2. You can be fired for being “odd”. It depends on the business. If you are in a customer facing position like sales if you have a mowhawk, face tattoo and a bone through your nose it may put off some of your customers. I think most people would see where that would be a problem. As soon as you tie it to sexuality or gender “identity” (there are only two genders) all logic and reason goes out the window.

  7. Don McCoy says:

    Business owners should be able to hire/fire who they like. Not to mention, the bereaving don’t need to be confronted with this PC nonsense while dealing with their loss.

  8. Hoffman Milo says:

    >transgender rights

    there is no such thing, there is no such law, and the judge had zero legal justification for any such ruling

  9. Simply federal judges foisting their social and political views on the public through force of law. It is tyrannical. The concept of “transgenders” as a protected class was created out of whole cloth. In the US, for progressives at least, common sense and science go out the window on any issue dealing with sexuality. There is a knee jerk reaction that absolutely anything goes on issues of sexuality and sexual identity. This might be a good way to put the funeral home out of business. Many people would not appreciate someone working out their “identity” issues during a loved ones funeral. You are forcing this on everyone willing or not. Is that fair?!?

  10. Buck Tudd says:

    Oh well, mental illness is everywhere……and liberals want everyone to embrace it. It is not in anyones best interest……especially the transy

  11. Lunatic injustices having not a clue what’s happening outside of their legislative gymnastics playroom

  12. if you own a business, you should be able to hire and fire for any reason. this is BS

  13. Unless he can change his genes from XY to XX he is still a man, no matter how he dresses or mutilates his body.

  14. what a joke. now we all have to pretend all with the lunatics?

    there is a reason why they kill themselves at like 40% clip, THEY ARE CRAZY AND NEED HELP!
    They don’t need everyone helping the delusion.

  15. The solution is simple. Shut down the funeral home and lay everybody off. Then take the money and move to Texas. Everybody wins. (I think).

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