Sessions Reverses Obama-Era Policy On Transgender Workplace Protections

Attorney General Jeff Sessions speaks to law enforcement officials about transnational organized crime and gang violence at the Federal Courthouse Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017, in Boston. Sessions has called crime groups, like MS-13, β€œone of the gravest threats to American safety.” (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)
Stephan Savoia/AP

WASHINGTON (AP) β€” Attorney General Jeff Sessions says federal civil rights law does not protect transgender people from discrimination at work.

That’s a reversal of an Obama-era directive that interpreted the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as prohibiting workplace discrimination against transgender employees. In a memo to the nation’s federal prosecutors, Sessions says the law bars discrimination between men and women but does not extend to gender identity.

Sessions says “this is a conclusion of law, not policy.” And he says the move should not be construed to condone mistreatment of transgender people.

LGBT-rights advocates immediately assailed the reversal as the latest in a series of Trump administration actions targeting their constituency.

A Justice Department spokesman says the Obama administration was wrong to interpret the law beyond what Congress intended.