The Supreme Court is currently considering a case, Bostock v. Clayton County, which may have an impact on LGBTQ rights across the United States. The plaintiff in the case was allegedly fired from his job after his employer discovered he had joined a baseball team for gay men. This case has become a focus of national attention to see whether the Supreme Court is willing to recognize employment discrimination because of sexual orientation as legally protected in the same way that many other forms of discrimination are.
The suit alleges that the plaintiff’s firing was a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which states that it is illegal to fire, or refuse to hire, someone on the basis of a person’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Currently, this does not explicitly include sexual orientation (such as lesbian, gay or bisexual people) or gender identity (such as transgender or gender nonbinary people). As a result, LGBTQ people have been denied legal protection from employment discrimination since there is no equivalent law specifically protecting against discrimination on those bases.
However, the attorney for the plaintiff is arguing that discrimination against someone based on sexual orientation is discrimination based on sex. In making this argument, the attorney cites an existing precedent which bars discrimination against someone for failing to adequately conform to gender standards. In other words: you can’t legally discriminate against a man for not being manly enough, nor against a woman for not being womanly enough, so what is it about being homosexual or bisexual that should make discriminating against them for their romantic or sexual interests permissible?
A similar argument is being made in the case R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, with the distinction being that case involves discrimination against a transgender person, rather than against a gay person. However, the two cases are being heard side by side, and are likely to be ruled on simultaneously. It is not yet clear how the Supreme Court will rule on this crucial LGBTQ rights issue, but we should know the answer by the end of the Court’s term.
If you have been discriminated against by your employer, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced New York employment lawyer who can protect your legal rights and advocate on your behalf during the legal process. Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer who has considerable experience in handling the many aspects of employment law. To schedule an appointment with New York City employment lawyer Steve Mitchell Sack, call (917) 371-8000.