Freedom For All Americans Statement on Supreme Court LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination Hearings

October 8, 2019 • 12:28 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 8, 2019

Linds Jakows | linds@freedomforallamericans.org | 602-989-3283
www.FreedomForAllAmericans.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard three cases about LGBTQ workplace discrimination that will determine whether federal law will continue to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Freedom For All Americans’ incoming CEO and National Campaign Director Kasey Suffredini released the following statement:

“Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on three of the most significant cases for LGBTQ people – and for anyone who believes all Americans should be treated with dignity and respect – since the marriage cases. These cases give the Supreme Court a chance to affirm that all LGBTQ people should be able to work hard, make a living, and support themselves and their loved ones without fear of humiliation, harassment, or discrimination at work.

“An overwhelming majority of Americans believe that LGBTQ people should be protected from discrimination. A ruling from the Court suggesting it’s lawful to have fired Aimee for being transgender, or Don or Gerald for being gay, would be a huge step backward that would shock the American public.

“And no matter how the Supreme Court ultimately rules, Congress must finish the job. The overwhelming majority of Americans from all walks of life agree that dignity and respect should never depend on who you are, who you love, or what zip code you call home. Congress must pass a law that ensures express and enduring protections for all Americans, including LGBTQ people.”

Today the U.S. Supreme Court heard:

  • R.G. & G.R. HARRIS FUNERAL HOMES v. EEOC and AIMEE STEPHENS (TRANSGENDER STATUS)

Aimee Stephens worked as a funeral director at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes.  When she informed the funeral home’s owner that she is transgender and planned to come to work as the woman she is, the business owner fired her, saying it would be “unacceptable” for her to appear and behave as a woman. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in March 2018 that when the funeral home fired her for being transgender, it violated Title VII – the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in employment. Firing Aimee —who remained the same capable employee — for publicly identifying and presenting as the woman she is is sex discrimination

  • ALTITUDE EXPRESS INC. v. ZARDA (SEXUAL ORIENTATION)

Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor, was fired from his job for being gay. A federal trial court rejected his discrimination claim, saying that the 1964 Civil Rights Act does not protect him from losing his job for being a gay man. Tragically, in October 2014, Zarda died unexpectedly, but the case continues on behalf of his family. In February 2018, the full Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that discrimination based on sexual orientation is a form of discrimination based on sex that is prohibited under Title VII. The court recognized that when a lesbian, gay, or bisexual person is treated differently because of discomfort or disapproval that they are attracted to people of the same sex, that’s discrimination based on sex.

  • BOSTOCK v. CLAYTON COUNTY (SEXUAL ORIENTATION)

Gerald Lynn Bostock was fired from his job as a county child welfare services coordinator when his employer learned he is gay. In May 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to reconsider an outdated 1979 decision wrongly excluding sexual orientation discrimination from coverage under Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination, and denied his appeal.

A decision is expected by June 2020.

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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