Cases Being Argued by the Supreme Court
The Supreme Court recently returned to the bench where the justices heard oral arguments and draft opinions on cases that range from LGBTQ rights, immigration law, gun rights, and abortion regulations. Regarding your workplace protections, here are a few specific cases involving LGTBQ issues to keep an eye on.
Civil Rights Law
Throughout much of the country, discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation has been legal. However, there are a few indications that this is beginning to change. Take for instance a case in Missouri, where a jury awarded an officer nearly 20 million dollars in compensation for discrimination and retaliation on the basis of his sexual orientation. There, a police officer was told to “tone down his gayness,” was refused promotions, and was retaliated against for attempting to report his discrimination.
Now, the Supreme Court will assess whether the country’s civil rights laws do in fact protect lesbian women, gay men, and transgender people from workplace discrimination. Title VII prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, but there is debate as to whether the definition of “sex” includes discrimination for sexual orientation and gender identity. In the cases Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda and Bostock v.Clayton County, the Supreme Court will consider if sexual orientation is included in the definition of sex-based discrimination. In the case Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC, the court will consider if gender identity should be protected.
Proponents of broader protections argue that discrimination based on sexual orientation is sex-based discrimination. Allowing a woman to have a relationship with a man while prohibiting a man from the same relationship is discrimination based on the man’s sex. Likewise, they argue discrimination based on gender expression (choice of hairstyle, clothing, mannerisms, etc.) is already currently illegal. Therefore, discrimination based on gender identity should also be illegal as a subcategory of gender expression.
Opponents of protections argue two things. First and foremost, opponents argue that the legislature did not intend for this interpretation of sex, and any change should come from Congress—not the Supreme Court. Second, they argue that gender identity is distinct from gender expression, and discrimination for being gay is distinct from sex-based discrimination.
The Supreme Court will decide which reading of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is correct, and whether “sex-based discrimination” should be interpreted to provide LGBTQ protections. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the LGBTQ community, individuals will finally be able to protect themselves in the workplace and demand a working environment free of discrimination and harassment.
When You Need Legal Help
These decisions will be released later this summer and involve cutting-edge developments within the law. If you are facing employment discrimination in any form and need help navigating the complexities of federal and state regulations, then give us a call at the Tyler Allen Law Firm. We are familiar with the latest news in employment law and pride ourselves on our expertise within criminal law, family law, estate planning and traffic law. If you have any questions whatsoever, contact us today by filling out the form on this page of calling us at (602) 456-0545. We’re here to help.