Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling is even more cause for celebration during Pride Month. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, officially extends to gay, lesbian, and transgender workers.
“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,” Justice Neil M. Gorsuch wrote in the opinion. “Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
The 6-3 ruling is the biggest moment for LGBT rights in the U.S. since 2015, when the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage. The ruling impacts an estimated 8 million workers who live in states that do not already protect them from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The court reviewed two cases to consider whether gay workers are protected under Title VII. Gerald Bostock alleged that he was fired from his job as a social worker in Georgia after he became open about being gay. Donald Zarda claimed he was fired as a skydiving instructor after mentioning to a female client that he was gay. The court considered a case brought by a transgender woman, Aimee Stephens, who was fired from a funeral home in Michigan after informing colleagues about her transition. The cases are Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda. and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
The Supreme Court’s ruling is an important step toward ensuring that all Americans have equal rights in the workplace. We are sure that the individuals who have spent decades advocating for this moment are especially proud this week.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).