In a 6-3 decision on June 15 that came as a surprise to many, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that gay and transgender employees are protected against discrimination by existing federal law.
Writing for the majority, Neil Gorsuch – President Donald Trump’s first appointee to the Court – stated that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects against discrimination based on sex, also applies to gay and transgender employees.
"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,” Gorsuch wrote. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
The decision is historic not only for essentially garnering federally protected class status for gay and transgender employees, but also because it was the first major SCOTUS victory for the LGBTQ community that wasn’t based on a Constitutional question.
In the view of the dissenting opinion, however, Title VII was strictly written to protect women from unfair treatment when compared to their male colleagues.
“If every single living American had been surveyed in 1964,” wrote Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. in his dissent, “it would have been hard to find any who thought that discrimination because of sex meant discrimination because of sexual orientation — not to mention gender identity, a concept that was essentially unknown at the time.”
While several states and local jurisdictions have made individual efforts to include gay and transgender people in workplace protections, it is now unlawful nationwide to discriminate against an employee based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
California has protected LGBTQ workers against discrimination at work, even before the recent SCOTUS decision. If you have experienced any kind of mistreatment at work because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, reach out to Limonjyan Law Group for legal support.
Our employment law practice helps people like you who have experienced a violation of your employment rights seek fair and just compensation. You are entitled to seek such compensation as damages by suing your employer for violating your rights at work.
For more information about how we can assist you with your claim, schedule a consultation by contacting us online or calling (213) 377-6707 for assistance.