The Supreme Court of the United States handed down a historic ruling on June 15, deciding 6-3 that gay and transgender employees are protected against termination on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
Before the landmark decision, local and state jurisdictions were left to decide whether or not employers could choose to discriminate against LGBTQ employees. It is now federal law that such workers cannot be discriminated against for being gay or transgender, making these qualities federally protected characteristics the likes of age, race, sex, religion, and others.
The opinion of the majority was based on an interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which established the nationwide prohibition of employment discrimination against protected classes like sex, race, religion, and national origin. In considering the protection of “sex” under Title VII, the majority determined that sexual orientation and gender identity ought to be included under that category.
The New York Times also points out that this is the first time that a major civil rights victory for the LGBTQ community was won based on an interpretation of a statute. In all prior victories – including the 2015 ruling that permitted same-sex marriage nationwide – SCOTUS justices grounded their opinions in interpretations of the Constitution.
What spurred the most recent victory for LGBTQ rights were three cases involving two men who were separately terminated for being gay and a transgender woman who was fired after announcing that she would start wearing women’s clothing at work.
It’s important to note that although these cases involved termination, it’s unlikely that lower courts will strictly interpret SCOTUS’ ruling to mean that only discriminatory termination against gay and transgender employees is prohibited. As with other protected classes, all other adverse employment actions and mistreatment at work rooted in discrimination are unlawful.
Do You Need Legal Support?
Members of the LGBTQ community who have been discriminated against at work should come forward with their claims to hold their employers accountable. This is especially true for workers in California, who have enjoyed such protection under the law for a period of time prior to the June 15 SCOTUS ruling.
At K2 Employment Law Group, our attorneys are dedicated legal advocates for employees whose rights have been violated at work. We can help you get what you deserve in fair and just compensation by pursuing legal action against your employer.
We can assist clients in many areas of employment law, such as the following and more:
- Discrimination (against any protected class)
- Sexual Harassment
- Overtime Violations
- Wage and Hour Violations
- Wrongful Termination
- Family Medical Leave Act Violations
If you are an employee who believes your employment rights were violated by your employer, reach out to K2 Employment Law Group to schedule a free and confidential consultation to learn more about our services.
Reach out to us online or by calling (800) 590-7674 for more information about how we can help.