LGBTQ Employment Discrimination Prohibited Under Civil Rights Law, Supreme Court Rules
The ruling is expected to impact millions of workers across dozens of states that do not have their own anti-discrimination laws that protect sexual orientation and gender identity.
Employees cannot be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity – that’s what the U.S. Supreme Court declared Monday in a sweeping landmark decision that makes that sort of employment discrimination prohibited under federal civil rights law.
The ruling, which passed in a majority 6-3 decision, stated that the 1964 Civil Rights Act barring sex discrimination in the workplace also protects LGBTQ employees.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, a conservative appointed by Donald Trump, wrote in the majority opinion: "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 Samuel Alito, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas dissented in the case.
The decision came as a combined ruling in three cases – Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who was fired from her job in 2013, Don Zarda, who was fired in 2010 after revealing he was gay, and Gerald Bostock, who was fired in 2013 after joining a gay softball league.
“This fight became so much more than me,” Bostock said in a statement. “I am sincerely grateful to the Supreme Court, my attorneys, the ACLU and every person who supported me on this journey. Today, we can go to work without fear of being fired for who we are and who we love.”
Both Stephens and Zarda died before the ruling, and their cases were continued by their family.
The decision is expected to have impact across the country, including the dozens of U.S. states that do not have their own anti-discrimination laws that protect sexual orientation and gender identity, Bloomberg reported.
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