The LGBTQ+ community celebrated a recent landmark ruling handed down by the Supreme Court at the end of June that, effectively, extended workplace protections afforded to all Americans by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to them. The high court ruled, in a 6-3 decision, that employees working somewhere with 15 or more employees cannot be discriminated against for being gay or transgender.
The case heard by the Supreme Court was a consolidated case that combined three claims brought by gay and transgender individuals who alleged they were fired due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. Before the recent ruling, almost half of the states had some form of employment protections codified for employees who are part of the LGBTQ+ community. However, this was a patchwork of protections that left around four million Americans vulnerable to termination (not covered by either state or local protections for gay or transgender employees).
Now that the Supreme Court has made a connection between Title VII and LGBTQ+ workplace protections, it is worth going over exactly what discrimination means. With respect to employment, employers or hiring managers may not reject a job candidate, terminate an employee, or otherwise intentionally create an adverse situation for the employee at work. More particularly, an employee may not be discriminated against sex, religion, nationality, race, or color. Now, it appears gay and transgender employees are now part of a protected class (although the ruling implied that they are included in the “sex” classification).
What the Ruling Means for Employees
The good news for gay and transgender employees is that many were already covered by a slew of state and local laws that extended protections. For nearly four million more employees who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, this means they will likely have recourse for experiencing workplace discrimination. There is a narrow scope of employers, though, who might loudly voice their disapproval at the ruling and claim that they are still allowed to make hiring and firing decisions based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Many of these employers are faith-based; they might take a stand on religious grounds.
What Should You Do if You Are Discriminated Against?
Proving workplace discrimination is not an easy task, but your first option if you feel you are in this situation is to contact either the state agency responsible for these matters or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If you feel you aren’t getting anywhere with these entities, do not hesitate to speak to an experienced and knowledgeable employment lawyer like Mitch Feldman. To discuss your potential workplace discrimination claim, give the firm a call today at 1-855-489-4905.