Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed a complaint this week challenging the Biden administration’s guidance to American employers that they must allow employees to use restrooms in the workplace and dress for work based on their “gender identity,” rather than their biological sex.
Twenty other Republican-led states are also pushing back against the policy that promotes the idea that people can operate in workspaces based on the sex they “identify” with or their “transgender” sex, rather than their biological sex.
NBC reported on Paxton’s legal move:
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has moved to block Biden administration guidance requiring that employers allow transgender workers to use bathrooms and dress in a manner aligned with their gender identity, following a separate challenge by 20 other Republican-led states.
Paxton’s office, in a complaint filed in Amarillo, Texas, federal court on Monday, said state agencies will not allow workers to use bathrooms designated for the opposite sex or discipline employees over their use of gendered pronouns, placing them at risk of facing legal action in light of June guidance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC].
The AG also said the guidance is invalid because it was approved by EEOC Chair Charlotte Burrows without a vote from the full five-member commission.
Paxton said in a statement that states should be able to place the rights of employers over “subjective views of gender” and that the EEOC guidance is dangerous to women and children because they will not have access to separate and safe spaces:
“These backdoor attempts to force businesses, including the State of Texas, to align with their beliefs is unacceptable,” Paxton said.
The EEOC guidance is relying on the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2020 ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which said the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes discrimination based on “gender identity.”
“Employers also can violate Title VII by refusing to refer to employees by their preferred pronouns,” the EEOC said, according to NBC.
But Paxton disagrees.
“While [Bostock] held that ‘discrimination based on homosexuality or transgender status necessarily entails discrimination based on sex,’ the June 15 Guidance instead addresses the converse question: whether discrimination on the basis of sex necessarily entails discrimination based on transgender status,” Paxton said.
“Paxton’s office is seeking an order vacating the guidance and will pursue a preliminary injunction barring the guidance’s enforcement while the lawsuit is pending,” NBC reported.
The case is Texas v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, No. 2:21-cv-00194.
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Author: Penny Starr