The Supreme Court recently heard arguments on cases related to discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) people in the workplace. These cases, including Bostock v. Clayton County and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC, alleging employees were discriminated against because they were discovered to be gay and transgender, respectively. In both cases, the question is not whether they were discriminated against, but instead, whether that discrimination violated the law.
These cases were being heard contemporaneously because they both rely on a broad interpretation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment-related discrimination based on race, sex, color, religion, or national origin. Traditionally, the definition of “sex” has, in this context, meant discriminating against someone because of their gender (typically discriminating against women). However, these cases are attempting to argue for a more generous definition of “sex” that will include sexual orientation (such as being gay, lesbian or bisexual) and gender identity (such as transgender or non-binary people).
These cases are important because there is currently no federal legislation specifically protecting the employment rights of LGBTQ people. The plaintiff in Bostock has argued that there is some precedent for this broader view because it is already illegal to discriminate against someone for failing to adequately conform to gender norms, which is considered a form of sex discrimination. However, it is not yet clear whether the Supreme Court will agree that this interpretation should extend to LGBTQ individuals.
These shifts in the law can have major implications for business owners, in New York and around the country. The employment attorneys at Blodnick, Fazio & Clark have the experience you need to navigate employment laws and protect yourself from legal trouble. If you want assistance in learning how to comply with employment discrimination regulations, or are facing legal trouble related to alleged discrimination, please call our Nassau County employment lawyers at (516) 280-7105, or, for our Suffolk County employment lawyers, call (631) 669-6300.