In a landmark 6-3 decision, the Court considered whether Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LTBT) status. The Court ruled that an employer that fires an employee simply for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination “because of sex.” The ruling was the result of three consolidated cases. Two of the cases ( Bostick v. Clayton County, Georgia, and Altitude Express, Inc. ) involve workplace protections based on sexual orientation. The other case ( R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ) involves employment rights based on gender identity. Courts of Appeals throughout the country previously issued conflicting opinions on this issue.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the Court, stated that the answer to the question of whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender “is clear,” and that answer is no. The Court held that: “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. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.” Justices Alito & Kavanaugh dissented and called the majority opinion “legislation.”
If you have questions regarding the Supreme Court decision, please contact the Lawrence & Bundy LLC attorneys with whom you work.
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