Ruling 6-3, the U.S. Supreme Court decided on June 15 that homosexual and transgender employees cannot be fired or discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The ruling renders members of the LGBTQ community a federally protected class, along the lines of age, race, religion, sex, disability, and other characteristics covered by federal statutes. Several states and local jurisdictions created protections of their own for LGBTQ workers, but the Court’s decision now makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in all 50 states, and for federal employment.
In what may have come as a surprise to many, Justice Neil Gorsuch – President Donald Trump’s first appointee to the Court – not only sided with the majority but wrote the opinion as well. In his opinion, Gorsuch wrote that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s protection against sex discrimination should extend to homosexual 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 June 15 ruling is dually historic because it grants LGBTQ workers federal protection and because it was the first major Supreme Court victory for LGBTQ rights to be based on existing legislation, not Constitutional law.
The dissenting justices, however, broadly stated that applying Title VII to include protections for LGBTQ was an overreach of the Court’s power. The argument appears to lay most with the Court’s interpretation that “sex” can also mean to include gender identity and sexual orientation, not just a person’s biological sex.
“If every single living American had been surveyed in 1964,” wrote dissenting Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., “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.”
Do You Need Legal Assistance?
If you are a member of the LGBTQ community who has experienced discrimination at work because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you are now protected against such behavior. Should you experience a further violation of your rights at work or while seeking employment, please seek legal assistance to hold responsible parties accountable for their actions.
At Pines Federal, our attorneys have more than 50 combined years of experience helping federal employees seek fair and just compensation after suffering a violation of their rights. If you require experienced and skilled representation to get what you deserve, reach out to us today.
Contact Pines Federal online or call (800) 801-0598 and ask how you can schedule a consultation with a lawyer who can assist you with your claim.