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U.S. Supreme Court Rules LGBTQ Employees Are Protected from Workplace Discrimination

Posted Jun 16, 2020

On June 15, 2020, in a 6-3 decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia , the United States Supreme Court ruled that LGBTQ employees are protected from discrimination under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the opinion for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that “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.” Previously, more than half of the states legally permitted firing workers based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Bostock, which covered three different cases, is the first Supreme Court opinion on LGBTQ rights since the 2018 retirement of Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, who had written the majority opinions in the court’s major gay rights decisions. In a dissenting opinion, Justice Samuel Alito argued that Congress did not originally intend to extend protections based on gender identity or sexual orientation when it passed the Civil Rights Act in 1964. Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who also dissented, contended that the ordinary meaning of the law’s phrase “discriminate because of sex” did not extend to LGBTQ-based discrimination. See SCOTUSblogLos Angeles TimesNew York Times.