Last week, amid a flurry of opinions and other actions, the U.S. Supreme Court made a notable decision not to act when it declined to review Gloucester Cty. School District. v. Grimm, a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals decision involving the rights of transgender students. The court’s decision was not unanimous – Justice Alito and Justice Thomas would have reviewed the case – but the 7-2 vote means the 4th Circuit’s decision will stand.
While most of the conversations in schools about gender transition has been focused on students, schools need to be aware that transgender employees may be involved in gender transition as well. Federal laws against sex and disability discrimination make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, harass, or otherwise discriminate against transgender employees
Ohio’s school districts have long recognized the requirement not to discriminate against employees on the basis of certain protected classes. Discrimination related to pregnancy, childbirth or maternity/parental leave constitutes discrimination on the basis of sex. Schools have to treat a woman who is temporarily disabled due to pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions the same as any other disabled employee.
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced today it is launching a new “technical assistance initiative” to assist schools, districts, state education agencies, libraries, colleges and universities in making their websites and online programs accessible to individuals with disabilities.