Funeral Home Fighting Federal Lawsuit From Male Director Fired for Desire to Dress as Woman

funeral pdDETROIT, Mich. — Attorneys for a funeral home in Michigan are seeking the dismissal of a federal lawsuit over the firing of a male funeral director for his desire to dress as a woman on the job.

According to reports, Anthony Stephens, who now goes by the name Aimee Stephens, was hired as the funeral director and embalmer for RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes in 2007. In 2013, Stephens informed his employer that he had been diagnosed with gender dysphoria and would therefore desire to wear a woman’s suit for work.

Owner Thomas Rost, a professing Christian who also serves on the board of directors for Salvation Army of Metro Detroit, has a company dress code in place, which states that males must wear dark suits and white shirts.

Rost reportedly provides two suits for male employees in accordance with the dress code, and would also provide the business jacket and skirt should a woman be hired as well.

“R.G. employees understand that the dress code requires funeral directors to wear company-provided suits,” legal argument filed in court outlines. “Rost sincerely believes that he would be violating God’s commands if he were to pay for or otherwise permit one of RG’s funeral directors to wear the uniform for members of the opposite sex while at work.”

Because Stephens sought to wear female clothing, which is a violation of the dress code, and because Rost did not feel comfortable with providing a skirt suit due to his Christian convictions, Stephens was let go. He took the matter to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which sued Rost with the aid of the ACLU for gender discrimination.

The EEOC argued in court that since Rost would not otherwise fire an employee for living in sin, his actions to fire Stephens were unbalanced and selective.

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“Rost does not impose his own Christian beliefs on employees, stating that he would not terminate an employee because he or she had sex outside of marriage, had an abortion or committed adultery. The business climate causes Rost to act against his religious ideals: the practice of cremation instead of holding a funeral,” it contended.

But Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) asserted that the dress code served an important purpose: to provide a respectful image to the clients with which employees interact.

“R.G.’s dress code is driven by the unique nature of the funeral industry, which requires utmost sensitivity to the needs of grieving families—including the need for an environment free from distraction,” it said in court briefs. “The dress code forbids male funeral directors from wearing the female uniform because allowing them to do that would attract undue attention to themselves and disrupt the grieving process for the clients.”

On Thursday, ADF asked the federal court to dismiss Stephens’ case. It had been denied its motion for dismissal last year.

“R.G.’s dress code and its decision to dismiss Stephens were motivated by legitimate business needs and the interests of the grieving people that R.G. serves,” the religious liberties organization wrote. “Thus, neither R.G.’s dress code nor Stephens’s discharge violates Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination.”

“The government should respect the freedom of Americans who are serving the grieving and vulnerable,” ADF Legal Counsel Doug Wardlow also said in a statement. “The funeral home’s dress policy is legitimate, understandable, and legal. Numerous courts have recognized that companies may differentiate between men and women in their dress and grooming policies without violating Title VII, the federal law that prohibits sex discrimination in employment.”

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  • Peter Leh

    A gender neutral dress code fixes this “problem”

    • hytre64

      OK, so ALL Funeral directors will wear what is currently the male uniform. Problem solved.

      • Ax2root

        No compromising with evil..

        If this man is under such demonic influence that he can’t even put on his pants then that directly puts disrepute on the whole business as to WHAT else is wrong,

        His confusion is incompatible with the business

  • Martin Smit

    Nobody mourning their dead wants to be served by an effeminate reprobate intent on visibly hijacking the proceedings for some personal gratification. This “sickness” renders him unfit to perform his duty.

    • Michael C

      …or she just wanted to do her job and live out her life in accordance with her personal beliefs and convictions.

      • Martin Smit

        Imagine living out a fantasy that harms nobody. Imagine a fantasy world where other people love your fantasies, and it’s all about you. Imagine pink ponies pooping rainbows.

      • mai1dude39


      • Ax2root

        He has male XY DNA.

        He is mentally unsound.

        His gender is male.

  • Josey

    Psalm 37: 35-40
    35 I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree.
    36 Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not: yea, I sought him, but he could not be found.
    37 Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.
    38 But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
    39 But the salvation of the righteous is of the LORD: he is their strength in the time of trouble.
    40 And the LORD shall help them, and deliver them: he shall deliver them from the wicked, and save them, because they trust in him.

  • bowie1

    Would those using the funeral home services be comfortable with an employee who wears the uniform not lining up with his birth gender? Perhaps this former employee should have kept that in mind.

  • Deborrah Barker

    A funeral home…..not the time to express your political or personal drama

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    Being well-fed and being bored for the longest time causes mental illness. People must stay with their birth gender as the Creator God has designed. Period.

  • Nidalap

    The new-minted “right to perversion”. They DO seem to mean for it to supercede all others, don’t they just…

  • Gena B

    If he was hired as a man and was wearing a suit that was issued to him then that is what the employer expected him to wear every day he walks into work. If he decided some time later that he wanted to shave his head and get tattoos all over his face he can do that, but it isn’t how he was hired and more than likely wouldn’t fit the dress code. There should be no difference just because he wants to start dressing like a woman.

  • Ax2root

    No business should be forced to retain a mentally unsound and gender confused employee who can’t even put on his trousers to show up to work