Braidwood Management v. EEOC, No. 22-10145 (5th Cir. 2023)Annotate this Case
Two Texas employers: Braidwood Management, Inc. (“Braidwood”) and Bear Creek Bible Church (“Bear Creek”), filed suit, as per their closely held religious beliefs, asserting that Title VII, as interpreted in the EEOC’s guidance and Bostock, prevents them from operating their places of employment in a way compatible with their Christian beliefs. Plaintiffs have implicitly asserted that they will not alter or discontinue their employment practices. all parties admitted in district court that numerous policies promulgated by plaintiffs (such as those about dress codes and segregating bathroom usage by solely biological sex) already clearly violate EEOC guidance. Both plaintiffs also contend that they are focused on individuals’ behavior, not their asserted identity.
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court’s conclusion that plaintiffs’ claims are justiciable; reversed the class certifications; affirmed the judgment against Bear Creek; affirmed the ruling that Braidwood is statutorily entitled to a Title VII exemption; vacated the judgment that Braidwood is constitutionally entitled to a Title VII exemption; and vacated the judgment regarding the scope-of-Title-VII claims as a matter of law. The court reasoned that under the facts presented, it cannot determine a more appropriate, limited class definition for any of the classes presented here. Accordingly, the court held that both Braidwood and Bear Creek have standing and bring individual claims. Further, the court explained that the EEOC failed to show a compelling interest in denying Braidwood, individually, an exemption. The agency does not even attempt to argue the point outside of gesturing to a generalized interest in prohibiting all forms of sex discrimination in every potential case.