Court Revives Mr. Bostock's Sexual Orientation Lawsuit

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

Constangy, Brooks, Smith & Prophete, LLP

In light of his Supreme Court win in June.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has revived a Title VII lawsuit filed by Gerald Bostock, who had sued Clayton County, Georgia, alleging that the county terminated his employment because he was gay.

The lawsuit was was dismissed at the outset because the federal court had found that sexual orientation discrimination was not prohibited by Title VII. Title VII prohibits discrimination because of, among other things, "sex," but does not reference sexual orientation discrimination. The 11th Circuit agreed, affirming the dismissal in 2018.

The rest, as we say, is history. Mr. Bostock and the parties in two other Title VII cases (one other alleging sexual orientation discrimination, and another alleging gender identity discrimination) took it to the U.S. Supreme Court, which ruled this past June that Title VII's prohibition on "sex" discrimination also encompassed discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The plaintiffs in the other two cases had won in the lower courts. Mr. Bostock was the only plaintiff who had lost.

Now he will have the chance to pursue his claim. Of course, the county can still win if it can show that Mr. Bostock was terminated for a legitimate reason unrelated to his sexual orientation.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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