Law Review: US Supreme Court protects LGBTQ employees from being fired
With conservative Justices John Roberts and Neil Gorsuch joining the Court’s four liberal and moderate justices, the U.S. Supreme Court delivered a victory to LGBTQ employees, protecting them from being fired because of their sexual orientation.
My fear is that Roberts and Gorsuch are “ throwing a bone” to us moderate folks, setting the stage to join the conservative majority issuing pro-Trump and other conservative rulings in several key cases soon to be decided by the Court.
Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, involved three separate cases where employers fired long-time well-performing employees for being homosexual or transgender.
Clayton County, Georgia, fired Gerald Bostock for conduct “unbecoming” a county employee shortly after he began participating in a gay softball league. Altitude Express fired Donald Zarda days after he mentioned being gay. And R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes fired Aimee Stephens, who presented as a male when she was hired, after she informed her employers, her intent to “live and work full-time as a woman.”
Each employee sued, alleging sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Title VII makes it unlawful … for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, … otherwise to discriminate against any individual … because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
As Justice Gorsuch wrote for the majority, “an employer violates Title VII when it intentionally fires an individual employee based in part on sex.”
The employers argued they did not discriminate against the employees based on sex, they fired their employees for being homosexual or transgender. Hmmm, seems kind of related.
In ruling for the Plaintiff’s, Justice Gorsuch wrote: “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions they would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undistinguishable role in that decision; exactly what Title VII prohibits… those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result … but the limits of the drafters’ imaginations supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands.”
Justice Kavanagh, President Trump’s pet justice, predictably dissented from the Opinion throwing words of praise and acknowledging the importance of gay and lesbian Americans writing how they have “exhibited extraordinary vision, tenacity, and grit — battling often steep odds in the Legislative and Judicial arenas, not to mention their daily lives … however, I dissent.”
Jim Porter is an attorney with Porter Simon licensed in California and Nevada, with offices in Truckee and Tahoe City, California, and Reno, Nevada. Jim’s practice areas include: real estate, development, construction, business, HOAs, contracts, personal injury, accidents, mediation and other transactional matters. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or http://www.portersimon.com.
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