Protection of LGBTQ Employees Secured by U.S. Supreme Court Decision
On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued a landmark decision confirming that federal anti-discrimination statute Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees on the basis their sexual orientation and gender identity. The decision, Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia, resolved a conflict among federal appellate circuits on the question whether existing prohibition against discrimination on the basis of sex encompasses actions taken against employees because they are homosexual or transgender.
In ruling in the affirmative, the court has provided clarity and consistency with respect to LGBTQ rights in the workplace. The decision was rendered by a 6 to 3 majority of the Court, with recent appointee Neil Gorsuch penning the majority opinion.
Before this ruling, an employee’s ability to bring a claim alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity depended on his or her location, as some jurisdictions recognized actions of this type, while others did not.
For example, prior to this decision, an employee in Florida could not base a claim of this type on federal law (our 11th Circuit had concluded that such claims were outside of Title VII’s coverage) or state law (as the Florida Civil Rights Act does not specify sexual orientation or gender identity as protected categories), and could only resort to local county and city ordinances (most of which lack such protections).
The Bostock decision eliminates this uneven approach to the issue, and secures legal protections for all LGBTQ employees in the United States.
Our firm has extensive experience addressing issue involving LGBTQ rights in the workplace. With this decision, we can now offer our advice, counsel and representation regarding these issues to all Florida employer and employees.