Attorney General Jeff Sessions has reversed transgender employees' coverage under a 1964 anti-discrimination law, a memo obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals. Sessions wrote that "Title VII's prohibition on sex discrimination encompasses discrimination between men and women but does not encompass discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender status," adding that the government will take this stance on any issues going forward. BuzzFeed News writes that the decision "may result in the Justice Department fighting against transgender workers in court."
Sessions added that "although federal law, including Title VII, provides various protections to transgender individuals, Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity per se." The memo is "a conclusion of law, not policy," Sessions clarified.
The decision withdraws former President Barack Obama's attorney general's 2014 memo that extended protections to transgender workers. Then-Attorney General Eric Holder wrote: "I have determined that the best reading of Title VII's prohibition of sex discrimination is that it encompasses discrimination based on gender identity, including transgender status. The most straightforward reading of Title VII is that discrimination ‘'because of ... sex' includes discrimination because an employee's gender identification is as a member of a particular sex, or because the employee is transitioning, or has transitioned, to another sex." Read the full report at BuzzFeed News.