Does the 1964 Civil Rights Act protect LGBT workers from employment discrimination? Currently, in most of the United States, job discrimination against gay and transgender workers is legal. However, if the U.S. Supreme Court decides that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act applies to the LGBT community, this will protect members of this community from employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or transgender status.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
Title VII outlaws discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, and sex. Sex is the current question for the justices. The justices must now determine how broadly to interpret sex in regards to the Civil Rights Act.
To make this determination, the court listened to 2 hourlong arguments. The first argument included a pair of lawsuits from gay men who claim they were fired due to their sexual orientation. Karlan, the lawyer for the two men, claimed that the firing of these two men clearly violated Title VII. Further, Karlan claims that this type of action constitutes sex discrimination. However, Justice Alito pushed back against this argument. Justice Alito suggested that it would be absurd to conclude that when writing “sex,” Congress intended to protect gay individuals. Also, Alito further suggested that accepting the ruling to encompass other forms of discrimination would be the court acting too much like the legislature. Alito firmly held the opinion that this was not the intention of Congress’s writing and it is not the court’s job to rewrite or change Congress’s intentions.
Further, in the second argument, a transgender woman claims her employer fired her once she announced her gender identity at work. This argument led into a discussion over the use of bathrooms, dress codes, etc. Some legal experts suggest that the transgender case seems more similar to discrimination based on sex. However, if the court makes a ruling for the protection of transgender individuals, legal experts believe this could open up the doors to culture wars.
New Jersey Protections
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJLAD) includes extensive and broad protections against discrimination in the workplace. The law prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees on the basis of race, color, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. However, factors like sexual orientation and gender identity or expression are not explicitly protected under federal laws and many other state laws.
There is a split between the courts’ conclusions as to whether or not sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under Title VII. Consequently, the United States Supreme Court will resolve the courts’ splits in the coming months.
Middletown Employment Lawyers At McOmber & McOmber, P.C. Are Loyal Advocates For LGBT Employees
If you or a loved one has been discriminated against, the Middletown employment lawyers at McOmber & McOmber, P.C. will pursue your case. Complete this online questionnaire or call our Red Bank, New Jersey offices at 732-842-6500 or our Marlton, New Jersey offices at 856-985-9800, to learn how we can be the advocates you need.