TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Civil rights law does not protect transgender people from workplace discrimination. That's the official ruling of US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, revealed in a memo Thursday..
But how much impact does the ruling really have?
Attorney General Sessions memo reverses an opinion from Barack Obama's Attorney General Eric Holder.
Sessions ruled Title VI of the Civil Rights Act does not recognize transgender people as protected under the law. He says Title VI forbids workplace discrimination based on sex but says "sex is ordinarily defined to mean biologically male or female."
Attorney Abby Jensen of the Southern Arizona Gender Alliance says, "It's going to confuse a lot of people. It's going to empower people to continue to single out and discriminate and harass trans people by saying, oh well, even the Federal Government says you're not protected."
But a lot of times the last word on what a law is and how it's applied does not come down in some memo from the Justice Department. It's decided in places like Federal Court, where judges take on cases, interpret the law and come up with precedents that really decide how the law's applied in daily life.
Abby Jensen expects that case law to continue to protect trans people from workplace discrimination.