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Saks Takes Back Its Argument on Transgender Discrimination

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In a recent twist that involves a transgender employee and Saks Fifth Avenue, the luxury department store has recanted its original argument that transgender people aren't covered by anti-discrimination laws. 

For a better understanding of the case's context, Leyth Jamal, a now former Saks employee who identifies as transgender, sued the retailer after believing her job termination was a result of discrimination. Initially, Saks Fifth Avenue cited a portion of the Civil Rights Act that bans discrimination based on sex, and claimed that being transgender doesn't fall under that umbrella. 

As a result, advocacy groups like the Human Rights Campaign became infuriated and immediately voiced their condemnation of the retailer's argument. The Justice Department piped in and filed a legal motion against Saks, clarifying that "Discrimination against an individual based on gender identity is discrimination because of sex,"according to Racked.

So did the Justice Department's role play into Saks' decision to take back their original claim? Most likely. But that doesn't mean the company is backing down completely because they still plan to contest Jamal's claim, just in other ways. We don't know the exact reasons Jamal was fired, so we're guessing Saks' legal team will try to argue their case based on non-gender identity-related rationales. 

But regardless of what claim Saks plans on pursuing next, the case as a whole paints a larger picture of the struggle the trans community faces in the fight for equality.


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