Et tu, Texas? City council says employees MUST use preferred pronouns or risk termination

Although situated in a red state, Dallas is a very blue city where city employees are required to use other people’s so-called “preferred pronouns.”

This requirement is laid out in a city document known as the “Workplace Gender Transition Protocols & FAQ.”

It’s a document that, while controversial, is beloved by city officials.

“[T]he document was lauded by City staff during a recent City Council committee meeting,” according to The Dallas Express.

“I would like to highlight our gender transitioning information toolkit” as a part of Dallas’ efforts to improve “recruitment and retention,” Human Resources director Nina Arias told council members during the meeting.

The city document centers around the so-called idea of transitioning, which it defines as “[t]he process of changing one’s gender from the sex assigned at birth to one’s gender identity.”

“There are many ways to transition. A transition can be social, legal, and/or medical. Transition may include ‘coming out’ (telling family, friends, and coworkers), changing the name and/or sex on legal documents, and/or accessing medical treatment such as hormones and/or surgery,” the document reads.

This is relevant because the same document says city employees “are expected to respectfully use the transitioning employee’s preferred name and pronouns, regardless of whether or not they ‘believe in,’ approve of, or accept an individual’s right to be transgender or undergo a gender transition.”

“An employee has the right to be addressed by the name and pronoun of their choice. Our addressing the employee by their chosen pronoun is a sign of respect for them as an individual,” the document continues.

This supposed right is so well-established in Dallas that “refusing to respect an employee’s gender identity by intentionally referring to an employee by a name or by pronouns that do not correspond to the employee’s gender identity” is considered by the city to be a form of discrimination and harassment.

Meanwhile, the document also imposes demands on employee managers.

“It is understood that during the initial stages of an employee’s transition, there are likely to be some infrequent and unintentional references to the employee’s former identity,” the document reads.

“Said unintentional references can be expected due to habit or human error. However, managers are responsible for ensuring that other employees in the workplace adjust to using the new name and pronoun(s) as soon as possible,” it continues.

The document further states that any employee who refuses to use a transgender person’s so-called “preferred pronouns” “will be investigated” and “may be disciplined up to and including termination.”

And the document states that if an employee is caught violating the rules, the transitioning employee “has the opportunity to dictate how offending employees will be treated by management,” according to the Express.

“In a section directed to supervisors, the toolkit instructs them to ‘[d]iscuss how the employee would like to handle name and pronoun mistakes that may occur in the first few months’ and ‘[d]iscuss how the supervisor will address persistent and/or intentional misuse of names and pronouns that may occur,'” the Express notes.

The question now is whether any of this is remotely legal. A slew of recent cases suggests not.

In 2020, for instance, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that even the court couldn’t force anyone appearing before it to use people’s so-called “preferred pronouns.”

“[N]o authority supports the proposition that we may require litigants, judges, court personnel, or anyone else to refer to gender-dysphoric litigants with pronouns matching their subjective gender identity,” the court said.

Notice the use of the word subjective.

But there’s more.

“In 2021, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals held that a public university violated a professor’s right to free speech by punishing him for refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns. The court acknowledged that ‘consistent with the First Amendment,” the government did not have “a compelling interest in regulating employees’ speech on matters of public concern,'” the Express notes.

“Along the same lines, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas struck down the Biden administration’s attempt to make states classify non-preferred pronoun usage as harassment in 2022, calling the guidance ‘arbitrary and capricious.'”

Speaking with The Dallas Express, America First Legal senior legal advisor Ian Prior warned that what Dallas is doing is risky business, legally speaking.

“The First Amendment right to speak includes the right not to speak. Radical transgender policies such as forcing someone to use ‘preferred pronouns’ undermine free speech and are an attempt to bend the knee to leftist activists by demanding that people reject reality, and recite lies that they do not believe,” he said.

“This dangerous precedent is as morally unconscionable as it is unconstitutional. If challenged in court, Dallas would find that the First Amendment remains unwavering in the face of the unlawful political agendas of special interests,” he added.


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