Improving Workplace Equality One Verdict at a Time
On June 15, 2020, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. This historic victory not only benefits workers around the country but increases equality for the LGBT community as well. As a result, more employees can enjoy protection from sex discrimination and peace of mind.
The ruling came from three different cases involving an employee being fired solely on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Gerald Bostock was terminated for joining a gay softball league. Donald Zarda was fired for telling a client he was gay. Aimée Stephens was fired for telling her boss she will work as a woman full-time, after working as a male for the preceding years. These horrific incidents and struggles helped pave the way for getting a successful outcome: More equality for LGBT employees.
It’s important to recognize that not all employers will adhere to the Supreme Court ruling. Although federal law bans sex discrimination against employees, now including LGBT individuals, there is no question that there will be obstacles and violations. Even if an employer isn’t directly instigating sex discrimination, they are responsible for punishing those who do. As such, both parties must hold each other accountable for ensuring Title VII of the Civil Rights Act is upheld.
Federal Law Mandates Protection of LGBT Workers
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act “ … prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.” This federal law now protects LGBT individuals, meaning if an employer or employee violates this law, they may face legal consequences.
As mentioned previously, an employee can be fired for their gender identity and sexual orientation. The plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case,whose accusations later produced a victorious outcome, experienced sex discrimination in the form of termination. Other examples of sex discrimination include:
- Getting paid less than non-LGBT employees
- Being evaluated by stricter standards than non-LGBT employees
- Lacking access to promotions and training opportunities
- Being forced to work roles than aren’t client-facing
- Experiencing harassment via jokes, physical advances, offensive comments, insults, etc.
- Getting written up for something that other employees get away with
- Getting demoted to a lower-level position
There are various examples of sex discrimination that aren’t mentioned above. Whether or not you are an LGBT individual, it’s important to recognize your workplace rights and ensure everyone is doing their part to comply with the law and treat each other properly. We understand that not every employee may speak up against unlawful behavior; some people stay quiet because they believe the sex discrimination is “meaningless” or “that’s how things are.” Others may experience more serious acts of sex discrimination and refuse to bring it to a supervisor’s attention in fear of retaliation.
However, it is more important than ever to take care of yourself and fellow employees by standing up against sex discrimination. As the saying goes, “If you see something, say something.” Thus, if you or someone you know experienced sex discrimination based on being LGBT, or suffered any discrimination at all, it is vital to contact our employment attorneys at (713) 352-3433 right away so we can fight for justice on your behalf.