The Justice Department will now take the position that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s prohibition against sex discrimination includes bias based on gender identity and transgender status, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Dec. 18, reversing the agency’s stance on the issue.

In a Dec. 15 memorandum to DOJ component heads and U.S. Attorneys, Holder said the department “will no longer assert that Title VII’s prohibition against discrimination based on sex excludes discrimination based on gender identity per se, including transgender discrimination.”

According to the DOJ, the memo is “designed to foster consistent treatment of claimants throughout the...