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Supreme Court Rules Gay and Transgender Employees Cannot be Fired under Title VII for that Reason Alone

The Supreme Court in a series of cases, in what will be known as “Bostock” (Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, and Altitude Express v. Zarda (on appeal from the U.S. Second Cir. Court of Appeals, originating from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York) both posed the question of whether sexual orientation was protected under the definition of sex under Title VII. R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Stephens centered on gender identity.) “Title VII” of the 1964 Civil Rights Act entitled protection for Gay and Trans employees on the basis of “sex”. The Supreme Court held that “sex” under Title VII encompasses one’s sexuality (LGBQ, etc.) and gender identity (trans, non-binary, etc.) and that employers cannot take adverse action against employees on that basis of protected class.

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The landmark 6-3 Supreme Court decision ruling in favor of gay and trans employment rights came during June 2020 Pride Month celebrating LGBTQ pride

Advocates for employee rights have asked why the definition of “sex” did not encompass such inherent sex related characteristics such as sexual orientation and gender identity. The Supreme Court had previously recognized that sex under Title VII granted protections for gender stereotyping and gender nonconforming employees at the workplace.

This next step by the Supreme Court enhances the ability of an employee who suffered adverse employment action on the basis of their sex to seek redress in court. The term sex under title VII is now more consistent with most state jurisdiction’s definition and protections of their respective human rights laws. New York City human rights law has long protected such rights of employees and now there will be more consistency of rulings in favor of employees who raise “sex” claims under Title VII in federal courts.

You can read the decision here. https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/19pdf/17-1618_hfci.pdf

If you have been treated differently on the basis of your sex, you should speak to an experienced employment law attorney today for a free consultation to determine your rights.

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New York State Capitol for First Time in Pride Month 2019, June 5, 2019.