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“4th Circ. Takes a Conservative Approach
to LGBT Rights,” Law360

May 23, 2016
Susan Warner

In an article published on May 23, 2016, Susan Warner, of counsel in the Firm’s Jacksonville office, provides insight on the Fourth Circuit’s recent ruling in Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board, in which the Fourth Circuit held that barring a transgender individual from using the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity violates Title IX. Although initially thought of as a landmark ruling, Ms. Warner writes that a more careful reading of Grimm shows that the ruling was not necessarily a landmark ruling for transgender rights, but a decision based on a conservative judicial approach to executive agency deference. “The decision in Grimm actually should not have come as a surprise to anyone paying attention to federal employment law over the last decade,” writes Ms. Warner. In recent years, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and many federal courts have held almost uniformly that federal law prohibits discrimination against transgendered individuals under the theory that discrimination based on an individual’s failure to conform to gender stereotypes is prohibited sex discrimination. Ms. Warner explains that the combination of the agency deference articulated in Grimm and the gender-nonconformity theory may lead to the recognition of discrimination based on sexual orientation as protected under federal law as sex discrimination. For the full article, please click here.