The EEOC recently filed a lawsuit against a Detroit-based funeral home for unlawfully firing a transgender employee on the basis of the funeral homes’ religious beliefs.
According to the suit, RG & GR Harris Funeral Home Inc. fired Aimee Stephens, formerly Anthony Stephens, after she announced her decision to present herself and dress as a woman.
Funeral home owner Thomas Rost testified in a deposition that Stephens was fired because “he was no longer going to represent himself as a man…he wanted to dress as a woman.” According to the EEOC, Stephens was fired because she did not conform to Rost’s gender stereotypes, which is a violation of current law.
The funeral home argues that it is protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which prohibits encroachment on certain kinds of business owners’ religious convictions absent a compelling government interest. The U.S. Supreme Court in 2014 held in the highly controversial Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. case, that RFRA applies to closely-held for-profit companies.
Federal law only defines a religious exercise as “any exercise of religion, whether or not compelled by, or central to, a system of religious belief.” This vague language has spawned several similar lawsuits.
We will keep you updated as this case unfolds. Click here for the full article! What are your thoughts? Contact us today!
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