TEXAS — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton on Monday announced he has sued the Biden administration over a June 15 guidance designed to protect LGBTQ people in the workplace.
The guidance, released by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, states, among other things, that transgender employees must be permitted to use bathrooms, locker rooms and showers that correspond to their gender identity. In addition, transgender employees cannot be prohibited from dressing in a manner that corresponds to their gender identity.
Misuse of preferred gender pronouns may be deemed harassment under the guidance.
“This unlawful guidance increases the scope of liability for all employers, including the State of Texas in its capacity as an employer. Under our system, States have the sovereign right to enact their own policies regarding things such as bathroom usage, and this is an extreme federal overreach by the federal government,” Paxton wrote in a news release announcing the lawsuit.
The guidance cites the June 2020 U.S. Supreme Court case Bostock v. Clayton County. The court ruled in favor of a landmark civil rights law that protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.
The court decided by a 6-3 vote that a key provision of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 known as Title VII that bars job discrimination because of sex, among other reasons, encompasses bias against LGBT workers.
“On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued its landmark decision in the case Bostock v. Clayton County, which held that the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) includes employment discrimination against an individual on the basis of sexual orientation or transgender status," the guidance reads.
“States should be able to choose protection of privacy for their employers over subjective views of gender, and this illegal guidance puts many women and children at risk,” Paxton wrote. “If the Biden Administration thinks they can force states to comply with their political agenda, my office will fight against their radical attempt at social change. These backdoor attempts to force businesses, including the State of Texas, to align with their beliefs is unacceptable.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.