In another landmark decision, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the Supreme Court of the United States held that under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 employers may no longer discriminate against LGBTQ employees because of their sexual orientation or gender that the individual identifies with.  Before this decision, Title VII made it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees because of their race, religion, color, sex, or national origin.

Judge Neil Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, who wrote the opinion for the majority stated, “[w]e 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.”

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, also a Trump appointee, who wrote a dissent on the decision stated, “[u]nder the Constitution’s separation of powers, the responsibility to amend Title VII belongs to Congress and the President in the legislative process, not to this Court.”  He also stated, in somewhat siding with the majority that, “[n]ot withstanding my concern about the Court’s transgression of the Constitution’s separation of powers, it is appropriate to acknowledge the important victory achieved today by gay and lesbian Americans. . . .”

It is imperative that employers update their manuals, handbook and policies to reflect this important ruling.  Managers and supervisors, and staff, must be counseled that any discrimination in the workplace, including gender-based discrimination of LGBTQ workers, is improper in the workplace.

If you have any questions about this ruling, or how it may apply to your business, please reach out to Steve Clark or Matt Altick, and they will be happy to assist you.