In a 6-3 vote on June 15, The Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 includes protections for gay and transgender workers. This ruling emphasizes the fact that employers cannot fire employees for being gay or homosexual, a major victory for the LGBTQ community. How can members of the LGBTQ community lean on this ruling for protection in the workplace?
Title VII History
Before the Civil Rights Act, employers had wide freedoms when it came to discrimination. Workers could be denied employment based on gender, race, religion or national origin. Title VII grants protection to workers and job applicants of companies with 15 or more employees. This law also established the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that enforces employment protection laws. The law states that:
- Employers cannot make hiring decisions based on discriminatory factors such as race, religion, gender or nation of origin. This also includes the way candidates are recruited, and ways jobs are advertised.
- Promotions cannot be based on the above discriminatory factors.
- Pay cannot be based on race, color, national origin or sex, including benefits or disability leave.
- Employees are protected from discriminatory harassment.
The Controversy Surrounding the Ruling
There was dissention among the Supreme Court Justices and called into question how employers would be forced to deal with bathrooms and changing rooms, how women’s sports teams could be affected and how this ruling could affect employment among faith-based institutions. While these issues will be debated and solutions are yet to be found, the majority of the Court agreed that a person’s gender identity or homosexuality cannot be a deciding factor when it comes to employment.
Employees have the right to a level playing field in the workplace, and race, religion, gender or national origin have no part in the decision making. If you believe you are the victim of workplace discrimination, contact the office of Conley Griggs Partin LLP and schedule a free consultation.
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