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Brief: Amicus Curiae Brief of NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund and Equal Rights Advocates in Support of Plaintiff-appellant and in Support of Reversal

Franke, Katherine M.

By dismissing the plaintiffs complaint under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act ("ECOA") on the ground that "the issue in this case is not [Rosa's] sex, but rather how he chose to dress when applying for a loan", the lower court erroneously established that there are no set of facts in which clothing-based sex stereotyping can form the basis of a legitimate claim of sex discrimination in access to credit. This view of the meaning and scope of the ECOA runs contrary to well-established Supreme Court precedent which prohibits, interalia, the adverse treatment of a man or a woman for his or her failure to conform to traditional sex stereotypes-whether it be the expectation that men should be breadwinners, or that women should be feminine. Further, to rule, as did the lower court, that stereotypes associated with proper "men's" and "women's" clothing is a matter separate and apart from sex discrimination, is to ignore the significant role that dress reform has played in efforts to achieve gender equality for women- from rejecting the wearing of corsets to demands to be permitted to wear trousers in the workplace. Further, the lower court's ruling denies a large body of psychological research that demonstrates the cognitive role that clothing plays in the use of sex stereotypes in the workplace and other market settings. Thus, the lower court erred in holding, as a matter of law, that there can be no relation between clothing-based sex stereotypes and sex discrimination under the ECOA.

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Michigan Journal of Gender & Law

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Academic Units
Law
Published Here
May 6, 2016

Notes

Full Title: Brief: Amicus Curiae Brief of NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund and Equal Rights Advocates in Support of Plaintiff-appellant and in Support of Reversal in the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit Lucas Rosa V. Park West Bank and Trust Company on Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts

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