On February 26, 2019, the Supreme Court of Missouri overturned the dismissal of a lawsuit filed against a school district by a transgender student who alleged the school district violated the Missouri Human Rights Act by unlawfully discriminating against him in the use of a public accommodation on the basis of his sex. The school denied the student, who identifies as male, access to the boys’ locker room and restrooms. The court held that the student properly pleaded his claim because he sufficiently alleged he was a member of a protected class based on sex, he was discriminated against in the use of a public accommodation, his status as a member of a protected class was the basis for the discrimination he suffered, and he sustained damages. The court vacated the dismissal and remanded the case, R.M.A. v. Blue Springs R-IV School District, to the circuit court.
While the court’s decision expressly addresses public accommodations claims only, the court did note the similarity between those claims and employment discrimination claims. Other Missouri courts will likely rule similarly should cases arise involving transgender restroom access in the employment context. We will continue to monitor these developments.