In a major development and victory for LGBTQ rights in the United States, today the Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (which prevents employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex) protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination.
While workers in roughly half of the United States were previously protected by local laws barring discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, there had formerly been no federal law clearly prohibiting employers from firing employees on those grounds. However, after today’s ruling, an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.
In its majority opinion, the Court stated: “Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear. 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. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
The opinion, in its entirety, can be found here.