A conservative judge in Texas has issued a ruling against a federal guidance ensuring workplace non-discrimination protections for transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming employees.
In an October 1 ruling, Matthew Kacsmaryk, a judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, declared that, in June 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued guidance that incorrectly interpreted the June 2020 Supreme Court ruling Bostock v. Clayton County.
The 2020 Supreme Court decision found that discrimination against gay and transgender employees is a form of sex discrimination forbidden by Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
One year later, the EEOC issued a guidance stating that the ruling required workplaces with more than 15 employees to allow all transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming workers to use the pronouns, dress codes, facilities, and healthcare practices matching their gender identities.
In response, the state of Texas sued the EEOC, and Judge Kacsmaryk just ruled in the state’s favor. He ruled that although the 2020 Supreme Court decision declared that employers can’t discriminate against workers for their sexuality or gender identity, it doesn’t protect an employee’s “correlated conduct.”
As such, Kacsmaryk declared the EEOC’s guidance unlawful and said that Texas doesn’t have to follow it. However, the matter is far from settled.
That’s because 20 Republican-led states have also sued the EEOC over the guidance, alleging that the federal agency violated the Administrative Procedure Act by not following the required process for making new rules and also the Constitution’s 10th Amendment by trampling on states’ authority over privacy expectations in workplaces.
Kacsmaryk’s ruling isn’t entirely surprising considering that he once served as the deputy general counsel for the First Liberty Institute (FLI), a legal organization that generally represents conservative Christians, attacks the separation of church and state, and opposes LGBTQ rights.
In a 2015 opinion piece posted on Life Site News, Kacsmaryk decried marriage equality and LGBTQ anti-discrimination legislation.
“Five justices of the Supreme Court found an unwritten ‘fundamental right’ to same-sex marriage hiding in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment — a secret knowledge so cleverly concealed in the nineteenth-century amendment that it took almost 150 years to find,” he wrote.