September 21, 2010

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that transsexuals are not a protected class for purposes of Title VII

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules that transsexuals are not a protected class for purposes of Title VII
Krystal S. Etsitty v Utah Transit Authority, CA10, v. No. 05-4193

Krystal Etsitty, a transsexual and former employee of Utah Transit Authority (UTA), sued UTA and Betty Shirley, her former supervisor, pursuant to 42 USC. §2000e-2(a)(1) (Title VII) and 42 USC. §1983 (The Federal Civil Rights Act).

Etsitty alleged the Transit Authority terminated her because she was a transsexual and because she failed to conform to their expectations of stereotypical male behavior. She alleged that terminating her on this basis constituted gender discrimination in violation of both Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Transit Authority filed a motion for summary judgment and the District Court granted its motion.

The court ruled that transsexuals are not a protected class for purposes of Title VII and the prohibition against sex stereotyping recognized by some courts should not be applied to transsexuals.

The District Court also concluded that even if a transsexual could state a Title VII claim under a sex stereotyping theory, there was no evidence in this case that Etsitty was terminated for failing to conform to a particular gender stereotype. Etsitty appeals the district court’s order granting summary judgment to the defendants.

The Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the District Court’s granting the Authority’s motion for summary judgment.

The full text of the Circuit Court’s decision is on the Internet at:
http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/05/05-4193.pdf
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