Current Issues

United States Supreme Court Rules that Title VII Bars Workplace Discrimination Based Upon Sexuality and Gender Identity

The United States Supreme Court’s recently issued its ruling in a landmark decision addressing whether Title VII’s prohibition of discrimination based upon sex includes discrimination based upon being gay or transgender.  The Supreme Court addressed this question in three separate cases: Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia;  Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, et al.;  and  R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC.

In Bostock and Altitude Express, the employees alleged that they were terminated due their sexuality.  In R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, the plaintiff alleged she was terminated after she told her employer that she intended to work full time as a woman.

In each of these cases, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Title VII barred discrimination on the basis of sexuality and being transgender.  The Court in a 6-3 opinion authored by Justice Gorsuch found that “[f]or an employer to discriminate against employees for being homosexual or transgender, the employer must intentionally discriminate against individual men and women in part because of sex” and this violates Title VII.

While various state statutes addressing workplace discrimination have already barred discrimination on the basis of sexuality or being transgender, this ruling addresses Title VII and such claims can now be brought before the EEOC and the Federal Courts. Click here for a more detailed analysis.