‘Answer Is Clear’: Title VII Forbids Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

On June 15, 2020, in the month and year that marks the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ+ Pride traditions, the Supreme Court held that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. In the 6-3 decision authored by Trump-appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court said that Title VII’s message is simple: “[a]n individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions . . . [and] it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.” Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, 590 U.S. ___ (2020).

This opinion resolves a circuit split arising from decisions by the Second, Sixth and Eleventh Circuit Courts of Appeal. In each case, an employer fired a long-time employee shortly after the employee disclosed being “homosexual” or “transgender” and allegedly for no reason other than the employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

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COVID-19: Staying Engaged, Staying Connected and Staying Calm

As many have now completed several weeks of teleworking, we are acclimating to our new “normal.” While remote working may have seemed like a “dream job” with flexible schedules, casual (sometimes very casual) attire and more efficiency, we have also experienced many unexpected challenges.

Shutdown orders have triggered school closures, limited (if any) travel and nonessential business closures. As a result, the remote working situation has forced many of us to balance work, personal and emotional commitments. Parents and caregivers face stressful situations as they support their children with virtual learning, family members search for ways to support older relatives who may be more vulnerable and everyone seeks answers for the uncertainty we face.

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