Targeted for relying on the law
For more than 100 years, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes has been ministering to grieving families in Michigan. Currently owned by Tom Rost, this family business has been passed down through four generations. A large part of the family’s legacy is the high level of professionalism and service the team provides to the families and friends of the deceased—it’s what sets Harris Funeral Homes apart. That’s why the organization has always maintained professional codes of dress and conduct. Tom wants to ensure that families can focus on processing their grief rather than on the funeral home and its employees.
In 2007, Tom hired a male funeral director who agreed to and abided by the funeral home’s sex-specific dress code for six years. But in 2013, the director gave Tom a letter informing Tom that that employee now identifies as a woman and would begin dressing and presenting as a woman while interacting with clients. After praying and considering the interests of the funeral director, the other employees, and the grieving families Tom serves, Tom decided that he could not agree to the funeral director’s demand.
That’s when the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed a lawsuit against Harris Funeral Homes.
Sex-specific dress codes are consistent with industry standards and are allowed under federal law. But the EEOC claimed that “sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act includes “gender identity.” While the federal government has changed its position and now supports Tom, the ACLU intervened and continues to defend a lower court decision that redefined “sex” in the law.
Now the United States Supreme Court must decide: Can unelected bureaucrats and judges bypass Congress and change the law to mean what they want it to mean?