Federal Law Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Status

Federal Law Prohibits Discrimination Based on Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Status

On June 15, 2020, the U. S. Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia held that an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Court explained that because discrimination on the basis of homosexuality or transgender status requires that an employer intentionally treat individual employees differently because of their sex, an employer who intentionally penalizes an employee for being homosexual or transgender violates Title VII. Three justices dissented, arguing that the responsibility to amend Title VII belongs to Congress and the President in the legislative process, not the Court.

California’s anti-discrimination laws already prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, and employers are required to post a notice informing employees of such. The Court’s ruling in Bostock will no doubt impact the Trump administration’s recent rule that rolled back Affordable Care Act protections for transgender people by eliminating nondiscrimination protections for those who identify with a gender different from the gender assigned at birth.