Supreme Court Decision Rules Civil Rights Act Protects LGBTQ Workers

In a landmark case, the US Supreme Court has ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.

Major Supreme Court victory for LGBTQ workers

On Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that the existing federal laws under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbid job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and transgender status. The landmark ruling will add protections for millions of workers nationwide.

The existing Civil Rights legislation, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person’s sex or gender orientation, the court said, also extends to a person’s sexual orientation protecting gay, lesbian, and transgender workers.

Supreme Court opinion

The 6-3 opinion was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch and joined by Chief Justice John Roberts, as well as the court’s four liberal justices, CNN reported.

“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote in the majority opinion.

“Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

“In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee,” Gorsuch wrote.

“We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”

Decision a result of two separate cases

Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court is the result of decisions made in two separate cases. The court upheld rulings from lower courts that said discrimination based on those factors was a form of sex discrimination, NBC News reported.

However, the main case the court issued its opinion on was Bostock v Clayton County.

Many states had protective laws, but now federal law

The Supreme Court now extends federal protections for LGBTQ persons across the nation. However, many states already had protections in place.

Currently, twenty-two states, as well as the District of Columbia, already have statutes in place that protect workers based on social orientation, according to the Williams Institute.

Twenty-one states, as well as the District of Columbia, also have statutes that protect workers from discrimination based on gender identity.