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Transgender Student Wins Court Case, SCOTUS Declines to Hear Argument

Jul 20 | 2021  by

Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a major transgender rights case, leaving a lower court ruling to declare that a Virginia public school board acted unlawfully when it prevented a male transgender student from using the men’s bathroom

The justices chose not to hear the school board’s appeal of a 2020 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals – Grimm v. Gloucester County School Board – which found that transgender students are protected under Title IX – the federal law that bars sex discrimination in education – as well as the U.S. Constitution’s requirement that people be treated equally under the law. In his opinion for the 4th Circuit, Judge Henry Floyd wrote that the school board’s actions were “a special kind of discrimination against a child that he will no doubt carry with him for life.”

This 4th Circuit court’s ruling followed a landmark 2020 decision that ruled gay and transgender people are protected under a federal law that bars sex discrimination in employment. That ruling helped guide the 4th Circuit’s decision in the Grimm case, as Judge Floyd noted considering the 2020 ruling that the court had “little difficulty in holding that a bathroom policy precluding Grimm from using the boy’s restrooms discriminated against him.”

The decision by the Supreme Court justices to not hear the case indicates that they see no urgency to weigh in on the issue, keeping the door open for future litigation in lower courts. It is important to note that the 4th Circuit ruling does not set a national precedent, but it does apply to the five states within its jurisdiction, those states being Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The discussion revolving around transgender issues is still evolving, and it is important for business owners as well as employees to understand this complex issue on some level. If you’re an employer with questions about LGBTQ+ discrimination and protection policies, contact Business Attorney Brandon Grysko at Fausone & Grysko, PLC. Brandon can be contacted online or by phone at (248) 380-0000.