Breaking: SCOTUS to Decide Whether Title VII Prohibits LGBTQ Discrimination

April 22, 2019 • 10:54 am

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the Supreme Court announced that next term, it will take up Zarda v. Altitude Express, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, and EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homesconcerning whether federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against workers based on sexual orientation and/or gender identity. With these cases, the Supreme Court has the opportunity to affirm a consensus that has been building in the courts, administrative agencies, and among scholars for decades: that discriminating against a person based on who they love or the gender with which they identify is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Masen Davis, CEO of Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement:

“No one who works hard and performs their job well should worry that they may face discrimination simply because of who they are or who they love. It’s time for the Supreme Court to cement into place our core American values of treating all people with respect and dignity and allowing everyone a fair shot no matter who they are. Like other Americans, LGBTQ people want to make a living and provide for their families. A win in these cases would improve the lives of millions of LGBTQ people and their families as well as send a message about the inherent importance of all of us being able to go to work, to live our everyday lives free from discrimination, and to have the means to take care of ourselves and our loved ones.”

  • Previously, the full 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Zarda v. Altitude Express that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is encompassed by Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination. The case involves a skydiving instructor, Don Zarda, who was fired after disclosing to a customer that he was gay in order to make her feel more at ease prior to their tandem skydiving session. The case is being led by a private lawyer, Gregory Antollino.
  • In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia dismissed claims that the firing of Gerald Lynn Bostock from his job as a county child welfare services coordinator after his employer learned he was gay violated the ban on sex discrimination in Title VII. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit denied his appeal. He is being represented by private counsel, Brian J. Sutherland.
  • EEOC v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes concerns a woman, Aimee Stephens, who was terminated from her job as a funeral director after she informed her employer that she is transgender and planned to come to work as the woman she is. She is represented by the ACLU. She filed a complaint with the EEOC, which subsequently filed a lawsuit on her behalf, in which she intervened. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that her employer violated Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination by firing her for being transgender and departing from sex stereotypes.

For more information about cases pending before the Supreme Court, in federal appellate courts, and at the state level, visit Freedom for All Americans’ litigation tracker at https://www.freedomforallamericans.org/litigation-tracker/.

Freedom for All Americans is the bipartisan campaign to secure full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Our work brings together Republicans and Democrats, businesses large and small, people of faith, and allies from all walks of life to make the case for comprehensive nondiscrimination protections that ensure everyone is treated fairly and equally.

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