The Supreme Court has dramatically improved the LGBTQ community's right to be free from discrimination in the workplace!
On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued a major victory for LGBTQ employees that will reverberate in companies across the country. In an opinion penned by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court declared that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Right Act makes it unlawful to discriminate against LGBTQ workers. Employers are now prohibited from discriminating against LGBTQ employees and those who do so are subject to Title VII’s considerable reach and remedies against unequal treatment.
The case is Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, and in a 6-3 ruling delivered during Pride Month, the Supreme Court held that an employer may not discriminate against any individual because of their sex and that “the straightforward application of Title VII’s terms” means that “sex” includes different treatment based on one’s homosexuality or transgender status.
The decision is historic for a number of reasons, including that it provides nation-wide protection for LGBTQ employees, rather than the patchwork of state and local laws that previously prohibited LGBTQ discrimination.
The Supreme Court clarified that its ruling applies only to employment decisions and does not purport to address issues like sex-segregated bathrooms and locker rooms. Likewise, the ruling discussed how this decision may intersect with religious liberties and laws such as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and Title VII’s express statutory exemption for religious organizations. These issues, however, were not before the Court and thus “how these doctrines protecting religious liberty interact with Title VII are questions for future cases too.”
However, this ruling is a major shift in the employment law landscape and a watershed day for this country and the LGBTQ community.
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If you have been the victim of workplace discrimination based on either your sexual orientation or gender identity, call 314-888-5858.