We have been arguing this at our firm for a long time, but today, we finally get a Supreme Court Decision to back us up. Today, the United States Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ workers cannot be discriminated against because of their sexual orientation.
Justice Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion, “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex.”
This is a landmark decision in civil rights law and a huge victory for the LGBTQ community. This ruling is an evolution of Civil Rights Act of 1964 that made it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on sex. Title VII is another name for this section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Today’s ruling makes it clear that workers are protected not just on their sex but also their sexual orientation and gender identity.
According to a USA Today article, Twenty-eight states have little or no workplace protections for the LGBT community. About 4.5% of the U.S. population, or roughly 11 million people, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer; 88% of them are employed. Today’s decision protects LGBTQ workers from workplace discrimination. As you can see from these statistics, this is great news for millions of workers.
The EEOC, under President Obama, had interpreted Title VII to include sexual orientation and gender identity. However, the Trump administration did not. Today’s ruling is surprising, if not shocking, because the 6-3 majority decision included Justices Gorsuch and Roberts, two Conservative Justices and Republican appointees.
As an advocate for every person’s workplace rights, I am really happy about this decision. Some things on paper just didn’t make sense in life. Over the years, I received calls from homosexuals or transgender individuals who have been discriminated against. It was hard and disappointing to me to have to explain the state of the law. More importantly, I cannot imagine how it felt to my clients to hear it.
Today’s decision is a complete step in the right direction. Nobody should face harassment and discrimination at work. Nobody. The Supreme Court’s decision will help curb this problem. Likewise, it will help lawyers like me help people like you, and people not like you. Overall, it will help achieve justice for everyone.
If you feel that you have been discriminated at work, please give me a call.