The Supreme Court will hear five cases in the coming months – and the decisions that they make could be momentous. The first of these five cases, which is starting to be heard this week, is related to discrimination in the workplace for those who are gay or transgender. Learn more about this case, as well as discrimination laws, here.
Three Cases Heard This Week
Yesterday, Tuesday, October 8th, 2019, the Supreme Court heard three cases where the central question is: can a person be fired from a job, or discriminated against, because of their gender identity or their sexual orientation? These cases are R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, Bostock v. Clayton County, and Altitude Express Inc v. Zarda. These cases are trying to use Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as evidence against this type of discrimination.
Title VII claims that sex discrimination at work is against the law. Those involved in these cases are trying to argue that “sex discrimination” includes discrimination due to sexual orientation and gender identity. The concept of “sex discrimination” is broad, and can be left to interpretation. The Supreme Court will have to determine if the open-ended nature of Title VII would include discrimination against gay and trans people, or if this was not the intention of the original law.
Consequences of the Decision
The Supreme Court has yet to reach a decision regarding this situation, though whatever they decide can have far reaching implications. If these cases are recognized, it will mean that people cannot be discriminated against in both privately and publicly owned companies due to their sexual orientation. While you might not think that such discrimination still occurs, it is actually a serious problem in the workplace, particularly in the private sector. Recognizing the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace will also pave the way for improving other rights.
On the other hand, if the Supreme Court decides to vote against these claims, and indicates that Title VII does not include discrimination against gender identity or sexual orientation in the workplace, it will allow such discrimination to continue. This will be a setback for the LGBTQ+ community.
What Will Happen?
At the moment, no decision has been reached, and it seems that the Supreme Court is divided on the issue. It seems that the swing vote falls with Justice Neil Gorsuch, who was appointed by President Trump.
As this case unfolds, we would love to hear what you think about it. Do you think that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation? Or do you think that this is not an interpretation that was intended when Title VII was created?
And keep in mind that if you are facing sexual discrimination in the workplace, our office can help. Contact us today to discuss your situation and we can get you the resources that you need to recover from this situation.