The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status – a major victory for LGBTQ people, allies, and advocates.
The key provision of the landmark civil rights law prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and other factors. Until this decision, courts disagreed as to whether Title VII protected LGBTQ employees from discrimination, and most states do not have protections for LGBTQ workers.
The rulings concluded lawsuits by the family of Donald Zarda, a former skydiving instructor who was fired after making a comment to a customer about his sexual orientation; Gerald Bostock, a former employee of Clayton County, Georgia who was fired for being gay; and Aimee Stephens, who was fired from her job as a funeral director in Detroit after revealing to her boss that she was transitioning from male to female.
Justice Neil Gorsuch, in the majority opinion, wrote, “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.”
Read the ruling here.