On June 15th the highest court in the land removed any ambiguity around the employment rights of homosexual and transgender workers. In Bostock v. Clayton County, the Supreme Court resolved that Title VII of Civil Rights laws clearly provides protections.
Justice Gorsuch explained:
An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.
Enforcing Title VII Has Been a Moving Target and Ongoing Battle
During the 1964 Civil Rights movement, Congress legislated that an employer cannot discriminate based on an employee’s sex. At the time, that simple statement seemed cut and dry. Yet employers immediately began to test its boundaries, something they still do to this day. Examples abound. In the 1989 case Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, the plaintiff was told that if she wanted to be promoted, she needed to go to “charm school.” This was not an isolated case by any stretch. Through the years women have found that their advancement was dependent on physical traits and inane ideals of “female comportment.” To put it plainly, if you’re pretty and sweet, you might move up. In cases like these the Supreme Court has clearly ruled that sexual stereotyping violates Title VII.
Fast forward to 1998 and both sexes enter the plaintiff picture. In Oncale v. Sundowner, the Supreme Court held that males sexually harassing another male violated Title VII. Then in 2015 the Court met the issue more directly in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that states cannot ban same-sex marriages.
Again, the 1964 Civil Rights language is clear. So why do issues of sex discrimination continually rise to our nation’s highest court for further clarification?
The Simple Answer: Fair Laws Must Protect and Benefit Everyone
Title VII and its related Supreme Court decisions boil down to basic fairness. Do we want a workplace that seeks the most qualified person for the job? Or an even greater question – do we want a society that looks for the best in others? The answers are obvious.
If you experience any form of workplace discrimination because of sex, we can help. Gardner Employment Law has helped hundreds of individuals face their employers with confidence and compel them to right the wrongs. We can do the same for you. If you are seeking an expert employment lawyer in the Houston area, contact us today.