Fifth Circuit Leaves Room For Title VII To Prohibit Transgender Employment Discrimination

On February 6. 2019, the Fifth Circuit, in Wittmer v. Phillips 66 Company, affirmed the granting of summary judgment in favor of employer Phillips 66 on a claim of employment discrimination based on transgender status. 

The Court wrote to reject the district court’s summary conclusion that Title VII prohibited employment discrimination on the basis of transgender status.

Interestingly, this decision leaves the door cracked for the possibility that the Fifth Circuit might one day hold that Title VII does in fact prohibit transgender employment discrimination so long as the court distinguishes the binding precedent in this Circuit holding that Title VII does not prohibit sexual orientation discrimination.

Text of the Fifth Circuit Opinion.