On October 8, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court heard argument in three cases that will determine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in the workplace, protects LGBTQ employees. Over the past twenty years, numerous lower federal courts have applied Title VII and other federal sex discrimination laws to prohibit discrimination based on a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Supreme Court cases will decide that issue for all LGBTQ employees in the United States.
The Supreme Court cases involve three workers who faced workplace discrimination for being LGBT. Aimee Stephens, a Michigan woman who was fired from her job as a funeral director when her employer learned she is transgender. Gerald Bostock and Donald Zarda both lost their jobs after their employers found out they were gay.
NCLR, along with GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders, filed an amicus brief in the cases. The brief argues that excluding LGBTQ workers from Title VII’s protections will lead to unfair and inconsistent treatment of job discrimination claims brought by LGBTQ workers, because it is impossible, logically or practically, to separate discrimination based on LGBTQ status from other forms of sex discrimination.
Aimee Stephens and the estate of Donald Zarda are represented by the American Civil Liberties Union.