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Supreme Courts Ruling Protects LGBTQ Employees


In a Supreme Court Ruling this month, federal civil rights law has been expanded to protect gay, lesbian, and transgender workers. The 6-3 ruling was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch and Chief Justice John Roberts. “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. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids,” Gorsuch wrote.

This ruling occurred as a result of three separate cases pertaining to LGBTQ discrimination in the workplace.

  • Gerald Bostock: Bostock was employed as a child welfare services worker, who was fired for being gay.
  • Donald Zarda: Zarda was employed as a sky diving instructor, and he too was fired for being gay.
  • Aimee Stephens: Stephens had been working as the director of a funeral home when she came out with her gender identity to her employer and coworkers. Shortly after expressing herself, she was fired.

This is a major victory for LGBTQ employees across the United States, as thousands of gay and transgender employees face discrimination and wrongful termination yearly. Specifically, this ruling extends the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, certain employment exceptions apply.

Exceptions to LGBTQ Protections

Though many employees will be protected under this ruling, some employers can still exercise exceptions in employees’ rights.

Religious employers such as universities, churches, organizations, etc. can still show preference over a potential hire if that person is an active member of that religion. This also includes insurance coverage such as the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby where the owner had a religious disagreement with mandates under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The court ruled that business owners who have religious objections to covering contraception were exempt from that ACA requirement.

Know Your New York Employee Rights – LGBTQ Employees Rights

This historic ruling will open the door to such LGBTQ discrimination cases for New York employees, too. If you have been discriminated against based upon your gender identity or sexuality, know that you have rights and need not stand for such belligerent disregard in the workplace.

Contact The New York City Employment Discrimination Attorneys Today

No matter your race, sex, gender identity, sexuality, or age, you are legally entitled to a safe work environment with equal opportunities and rights. But when your employer discriminates against you, therefore making sure you can never move up the ranks, or even be invited to the starting line, you deserve justice.

If you believe that you were a victim of employment discrimination or harassment because of your sexuality or gender identity, call Brown Kwon & Lam, LLP today.