On June 15, in a ground breaking opinion the Supreme Court issued its decision in three related cases, ruling (6-3) that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. This interpretation of existing federal law, building off the longstanding prohibition against “sex” discrimination, was not a foregone conclusion given the conservative make of the Court. Justice Gorsuch authored the majority decision, writing:
“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.”
The decision will have significant impact nationally, as well as the majority of U.S states. Specifically nearly 50% of states do not have laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Supreme Court’s decision is a landmark ruling affirming the importance of workplace protections for LGBTQ workers. For questions or more information, please contact the Paterra Law Firm.