In a victory for equal rights of all persons regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation, Title VII now makes it illegal for employers to discriminate against gay and transgendered workers. Employers can no longer discrimination against employees based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Supreme Court, in a groundbreaking 6-3 decision Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, held: “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII.”
Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to take adverse employment action, such as failure or refusal to hire, to discharge or terminate, or to otherwise discriminate against an individual based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Until this U.S. Supreme Court decision, the term “sex” under Title VII did not include an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Thus, employees were not protected from discrimination because they were gay, transgender, or because they otherwise suffered discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Prior to today’s ruling, employers were able to discriminate against gay and transgendered people in states which had not yet passed legislation making it illegal to do so, including Ohio. However, gay and transgendered workers are now a protected class under Title VII (a federal law) based on the term “sex.” Since more than half of the states have not passed legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, millions more workers are now protected against workplace discrimination under the federal law following this landmark decision.
If an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity plays a part in the employer’s decision to treat that individual differently or penalizes them for being homosexual or transgender, the employer can now be found to have violated Title VII. An employer cannot avoid liability by citing to some other factor that contributed to its employment action. If the individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity simply contributed to the employer’s decision, it can be deemed a violation of Title VII. Protections for employees based on their gender identity and sexual orientation now enjoy the same protections as discrimination based on an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
If you live in a state, like Ohio, which does not provide statewide protections for sexual orientation or gender identity outside of public employment, you are now protected under federal law and your employer cannot discriminate against you for being homosexual or transgendered.
Has your employer discriminated against you based on your sexual orientation or gender identity? The attorneys at Coffman Legal handle a variety of discrimination cases and we regularly fight to protect workers’ rights. Call 614-949-1181 for a free and confidential consultation with one of our attorneys.