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Transgender Funeral Director Fired For Dress Code Heads To Court

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Amber Randall Civil Rights Reporter
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A former transgender funeral director who got fired over dressing like a woman will have his case heard by a federal judge Thursday.

Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who transitioned from a man, was fired from his job after telling his employers that he would be wearing women’s clothing since he was transitioning, reports CBS Detroit. Stephens used to go by Anthony Stephens.

Stephens worked for Harris Funeral Homes located in Garden City. The funeral home has a sex specific dress code so as to be considerate of the families they serve. In 2013, Stephens told the owners that he was transitioning into a woman and would begin to dress as one. The owners fired him two weeks after his announcement, saying that “what she was ‘proposing to do’ was unacceptable.”

The U.S. Equal Employment Office filed a discrimination lawsuit in 2014 on Stephen’s behalf alleging discrimination based on sex.

Doug Wardlow, a legal counsel with the organization representing the business, said that the owners were not being discriminatory.

“What the EEC is trying to do here is ask the court to rule in a way that no other court has ever ruled in this country. And basically that there should be a transgender exception to the rule of law that says sex-specific dress codes can be applied and that they don’t violate Title VII,” Wardlow told CBS Detroit.

Wardlow also said that the owner’s dress code is a legitimate one.

“The funeral home’s dress policy is legitimate, understandable, and legal. Numerous courts have recognized that companies may differentiate between men and women in their dress and grooming policies without violating Title VII, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in employment,” Wardlow said previously.

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