On October 8, 2019, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in three cases that will determine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ employees from discrimination in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, enacted in 1964, protects individuals from discrimination “on the basis of sex.” The Court’s decision in this case could expand that protection to LGBTQ individuals.
Two of the cases involve employees allegedly discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, and one case involves an employee who was allegedly discriminated against on the basis of her status as a transgender woman. All three plaintiffs argue that discriminatory decisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity are decisions based on “sex” as provided for in Title VII. Both parties also rely on Supreme Court precedent that prohibits discrimination based on sex stereotyping in support of their claims.
Today, only 21 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place to protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A ruling for Plaintiffs in this case would mean that such discrimination would be prohibited in all fifty states.