Jack Lord Discusses Murky Legal Landscape on Pronoun Misuse

15 March 2023 Law360 News

Foley & Lardner LLP Partner Jack Lord is quoted in the Law360 article, “Employers Face More Claims, Hazy Law On Pronoun Misuse,” discussing the rise in workplace clashes in which employees claim a faith-based objection to using a transgender co-worker’s pronouns or name.

In discussing a recent federal court decision which cleared a worker’s discrimination lawsuit on this issue to move into the fact-finding phase, Lord said, “The court talks about it in a neutral way. Reading between the lines, this judge isn't totally dismissing that guidance," in reference to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) pronoun guidance, which has been under fire from some federal courts.

Lord noted the pushback from federal courts on the EEOC’s pronoun guidance does not completely nullify the agency’s rationale.

"There are different reasons things can be enjoined, it doesn't mean the underlying concepts are invalid. There are certain things that as a matter of law, just are true, whether they're in those guidelines or not," he explained. "There may not be a direct holding on them, or a binding holding on them, but it doesn't mean the concepts in these guidelines lack persuasive value."

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