Houston, Texas – On Tuesday, June 20, 2023, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit issued a ground-breaking decision in Braidwood Management’s lawsuit challenging the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission’s radical transgender “guidance documents.”
Braidwood is a management company that employs the workers of Hotze Health & Wellness Center, Hotze Vitamins, and Physicians Preference Pharmacy, International LLC. Dr. Steven Hotze controls or owns the business entities. He is also the sole board member of Braidwood, serving as President, Secretary, and Treasurer. Braidwood has close to seventy employees who work at those entities.
Braidwood Management sued to stop the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) from requiring Christian employers, including churches, to “allow employees into restrooms that correspond to the employees’ gender identity, no matter the individual’s biological sex, whether the individual has had a sex-change operation, or whether other employees have raised objections or privacy concerns.”
Braidwood Management won in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. On appeal, the Fifth Circuit also ruled for Braidwood Management, holding that it has pre-enforcement standing to sue and that Religious Freedom Restoration Act prevents the EEOC from enforcing its so-called guidance documents against Christian employers.
According to the court: “On the merits, and as we explain, we decide that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires that Braidwood, on an individual level, be exempted from Title VII because compliance with Title VII post-Bostock would substantially burden its ability to operate per its religious beliefs about homosexual and transgender conduct. Moreover, the EEOC wholly fails to carry its burden to show that it has a compelling interest in refusing Braidwood an exemption, even post-Bostock.”
RFRA “requires that Braidwood, on an individual level, be exempted from Title VII because compliance with Title VII post-Bostock would substantially burden its ability to operate per its religious beliefs about homosexual and transgender conduct,” a three-judge panel, which heard oral arguments in February, said. The RFRA prohibits the federal government from burdening a person’s free exercise of religion, even if that burden stems from a neutral, generally applicable law.
Dr. Hotze said, “Attorney Jonathan Mitchell provided me with outstanding legal counsel and direction in this ground-breaking lawsuit. Counselor Mitchell and his team developed the legal arguments that led to our success. His courtroom presentations before the federal district and appellate courts were masterful and compelling.”
Dr. Hotze further stated, “The Biden Administration tried to keep us out of court, arguing that we did not have standing because the EEOC had not yet fined Braidwood for its religious position opposing the EEOC’s radical transgender guidance. The Fifth Circuit agreed with our position and further affirmed our rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I will continue to fight for the rights of Americans to be free from having the Biden Administration impose a radical, administrative transgender agenda upon them.”
The case is Braidwood Management Inc. v. EEOC, No. 22-10145 (5th Cir.). Read the decision here.