In the long-awaited landmark case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, the United States Supreme Court recently held that an employer who terminates an employee for being homosexual or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the Court, Title VII makes it “unlawful . . . for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual . . . because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
Put simply, the Court stated, under Title VII, Congress “outlawed discrimination in the workplace on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. 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.”
LGBTQ+ employees have long been protected under California law, but now they are also protected under Federal law — A victory for all workers.
It is important to note that in their decision, the Court indicated that it makes no difference if other factors besides the employee’s sex contributed to the discriminatory action or that the employer treated women as a group the same when compared to men as a group. In such cases, a statutory violation still occurs because the employer intentionally relied in part on an individual employee’s sex when deciding to take adverse action against the employee.
LGBTQ Rights in the Workplace
Reports have shown that LGBTQ people face various forms of discrimination in the workplace, even in California, where it has been against the law for some time.
According to a recent nationally representative survey on American social trends done by the University of Chicago, 16% of LGB respondents reported having lost a job because of their sexuality. Meanwhile, 16% of transgender respondents also reported having lost a job in their lifetime because of their gender identity or expression.
Protecting Your Rights
If you are the victim of any type of workplace discrimination, including sex discrimination, the law and our experienced attorneys are on your side. You will want to bring a claim against your employer for discrimination. An employee who wins a discrimination lawsuit is entitled to recover several types of compensation, such as lost wages, emotional distress, litigation costs and statutory attorney fees. An employee could also recover punitive damages which are designed not to compensate the employee but to deter and punish the employer.
For a free, no obligation consultation about your legal rights in the California workplace, contact LOEAB Law today.