Los Angeles, CA – The US Supreme Court is expected to announce its decisions in the coming weeks on three cases that address whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity. Two of the cases – Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and Altitude Express Inc v. Zarda – address sexual orientation, and the third case, Harris Funeral Homes v. Stephens, addresses gender identity. The Supreme Court’s decisions will determine whether LGBT people across the country are protected under federal law if they are subject to employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
In a recent chapter in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, Williams Institute researchers found that discrimination against LGBT people continues to be widespread. Despite public support for LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination laws across the country, 27 states currently do not have statewide statutory protections for LGBT people in employment, housing, or public accommodations. “If the court holds that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, millions of LGBT employees will be left without any protection from employment discrimination whatsoever,” said chapter co-author Christy Mallory, state and local policy director at the Williams Institute. “And all LGBT people will face a patchwork of protections under various state and local laws and private corporate policies – protections that can change as they move or get new jobs. . . “
There are an estimated 7.1 million lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers (ages 16 and older) in the US and half of them – 3.4 million LGB people – live in states without express statutory protections against sexual orientation discrimination in employment. Approximately one million workers (ages 16 and older) identify as transgender in the US and more than half of them – 536,000 people – live in states without express statutory protections against gender identity discrimination in employment. A recent study found that between 2012 and 2016, 9,127 charges alleging sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination were filed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. About half of them included claims of discriminatory terminations and harassment. That study also found proportionately more allegations of serious discrimination issues, including harassment, discharge, and retaliation, in states without antidiscrimination statutes. For more information on the impact of the Court’s decision on LGBT people, read the Williams Institute’s amicus briefs https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/title-vii-cases-amicus-briefs/ Courtesy of the Williams Institute (Seattle Gay News at http://www.sgn.org/sgnnews47_18/page12.cfm}