Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s office launched legal action to overturn the Biden administration’s June guidance that protects lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) employees.
BL understands the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance includes one rule, requiring employers to let workers to use restrooms that match the gender they identify most with.
The lawsuit names the commission, chairwoman Charlotte Burrows, and U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland (D) as defendants.
Paxton claims the guidance “misinterprets the law” and “Burrows did not even have the authority to issue it.” He stresses the Texas Department of Agriculture and other Lone Star State agencies have the right to create their own policies on restrooms, dress codes, and pronoun usage.
“Intentionally and repeatedly using the wrong name and pronouns to refer to a transgender employee could contribute to an unlawful hostile work environment,” he said according to Newsweek.
The guidance came one year after the U.S. Supreme Court controversially decided to expanded protections for LGBT employees on June 15, 2020.
It declared employees cannot be fired for being LGBT. The Supreme Court also ruled that protections against sex discrimination in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act should protect employees based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Paxton believes the commission’s recent guidance went beyond Title VII, which applies to private employers with 15 or more employees. It also took sides on other issues like transgender access to restrooms, and using “incorrect pronouns” to refer to transgender people.
“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,” he said in a statement.
The Republican warned the Biden administration his office will do everything in its power to fight “radical” mandates.
“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,” he said. “These backdoor attempts to force businesses, including the State of Texas, to align with their beliefs is unacceptable.”
He hopes the court will declare the guidance unlawful and dismiss all charges against affected employers.
In August, a coalition of 20 states led by Republican lawmakers previously challenged the same regulation in court.
Lawmakers argued the commission exceeded its authority when issuing guidance. They also claimed the rules violated the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution through “intruding on the states’s authority over expectations of privacy in the workplace and in schools.”