Supreme Court Delivers Historic Decision on LGBTQ Rights in the Workplace

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This week the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in a landmark decision that gay, lesbian and transgender employees are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Title VII prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin, and in their June 15th decision, the justices decided that “sex” includes sexual orientation and transgender status.

“Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the Court. “The answer is clear. 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 others supporting the decision were Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor. Justices Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas dissented.

The opinion can be read here.

Employers should review their policies and practices to ensure they are in full compliance with the decision.

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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