Settlement agreed after landmark US transgender ruling

·1-min read
Aimee Stephens was at the center of the US Supreme Court's first case on transgender rights

A funeral parlor has agreed to pay $250,000 to end a legal dispute with a late transgender employee at the heart of a landmark US Supreme Court ruling.

Detroit-based Harris Funeral Homes will donate $130,000 to a trust created to honor the legacy of Aimee Stephens, who died in May at the age of 59.

It will also pay $120,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which represented her in court, after a federal judge agreed the terms of the agreement on Monday.

After working for six years at the funeral home -- while presenting as a man -- Stephens told her employer that she was actually a transgender woman, and had started to transition to her true gender.

Her boss, a self-described "fervent Christian," fired Stephens, arguing that he did not want to disturb the mourning of his clients.

Stephens filed a discrimination lawsuit. After losing in a lower court, she won on appeal -- and her former employer took the case to the Supreme Court, in its first case on transgender rights.

The court delivered a victory for the transgender community in June, ruling that employers cannot discriminate against workers because of their sexual orientation or transgender identity.

In a blow to the administration of President Donald Trump, the court ruled that a 1964 law, which outlaws discrimination against employees because of a person's sex, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.

"This settlement marks a closing chapter in Aimee Stephens' remarkable fight for justice," Chase Strangio, of the ACLU, said in a statement. "We are sad that Aimee is not here to experience this moment."