In a 6-3 decision the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that an employer who terminates an employee, or otherwise discriminates against them because they are gay or transgender, is violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which protects employees from discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race, color, religion and national origin.
Prior to the decision, Title VII did not explicitly extend to sexual orientation or gender identity leading to a lot of different interpretations in lower courts – hit or miss justice for employees fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. Settling the question once and for all, the highest court’s ruling makes crystal clear that Title VII does indeed prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in the workplace as part of the larger prohibition against sex discrimination under federal law.
Although many states including Iowa and Illinois already prohibited sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace, the decision provides a unifying law and the federal teeth needed to ensure all LGBT employees are treated fairly. If you have been discriminated against in your workplace, harassed or retaliated against because of your sexual orientation of gender identity, contact the Davenport Employment Law Offices of McDonald Woodward & Carlson PC for immediate assistance at 563-355-6478.