Funeral home settles lawsuit that led to major ruling

DETROIT (AP) — A Detroit-area funeral home has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle a lawsuit that led to a groundbreaking decision that protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment.

Aimee Stephens, 59, died weeks before the U.S. Supreme Court in June said she was covered by federal civil rights law.

Stephens worked as an embalmer and funeral home director at R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in Garden City. She was fired in 2013 when she told her boss that she no longer wanted to be recognized as a man. She said she wanted to be known as Aimee and would report to work wearing a conservative skirt suit or dress.

Stephens’ boss said her appearance would be a distraction for grieving families.

The business is paying $130,000 to Stephens’ estate, plus $120,000 in legal costs and fees. U.S. District Judge Sean Cox approved the settlement Monday, The Detroit News reported.

Harris Homes will also begin providing clothing benefits to female employees, a benefit that had previously been available only to men, the newspaper reported.