Today marks the one-year anniversary of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision protecting LGBTQ+ employees from discrimination in the workplace.
About the Case
In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the Court decided whether employers could legally terminate employees once they learned about their sexuality or transgender identity.
In a 6-3 decision, the Court held that the language “on the basis of sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 banned discrimination of gay and transgender persons. Prior to this ruling, the “basis of sex” language was interpreted to focus solely on assigned gender. This interpretation meant discriminating against someone for being male or female was prohibited.
The Argument for LGBTQ+ Protection
Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority. He gave the example of two employees attracted to men, one male and one female. “If the employer fires the male employee for no reason other than the fact he is attracted to men,” but the employer does not fire the woman who is attracted to men, that is clearly a firing based on sex. This decision made it clear that it is impossible to separate one’s sex and sexual orientation and one’s sex and gender identity when it comes to this law.
The Court admitted that it was unlikely Congress had the LGBTQ+ community in mind when it banned discrimination based on sex in 1964. However, several major Court decisions since then have interpreted Title VII broadly. For example, courts have concluded that Title VII bars employers from discriminating against women because they have children and bars sexual harassment against both men and women.
Title VII Protections
In addition to sexuality and gender identity, Title VII also prohibits employers from discriminating against employees due to their race, national origin, gender or religion. If you believe you have been discriminated or retaliated against in the workplace, Title VII and other federal and state laws are there to protect you. McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. has experienced employment lawyers here to help you receive fair treatment and justice. You can reach us at our Red Bank, New Jersey office at 732-842-6500 or at our office in Marlton, New Jersey 856-985-9800.