02 Jul Supreme Court Rules Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Workers Are Protected From Discrimination
On June 4, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects gay, lesbian and transgender people from discrimination in employment. The outcome is expected to impact an estimated 8.1 million LGBTQ workers in the U.S. who were previously unprotected from workplace discrimination in most states.
Under the original civil rights law, discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex are illegal. Essentially, the justices determined that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are also forms of sex discrimination. Justice Neil Gorsuch, considered a definitively conservative judge, delivered the opinion – marking a stunning defeat for judicial conservatives and a striking endorsement of LGBTQ rights.
Gorsuch was joined in the majority by Chief Justice John Roberts and the Court’s liberal members Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breyer. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh dissented from the decision.
The Court’s decision means that claims by LGBTQ employees will be treated in the same manner as all other Title VII discrimination claims, including those based on gender and other categories such as race and religion. Employers that allow discrimination in the workplace based on LGBTQ status are now required to change those policies. In addition, employers must train their employees on how to comply with the new law.
LGBTQ rights groups have expressed they will challenge other issues revolving around LGBTQ rights, including the Trump administration’s effort to roll back anti-discrimination protections for transgender people in health care.