In a landmark ruling, LGBTQI individuals in the US can no longer be fired based on their sexual orientation or gender identity
BY SOPHIE GRIFFITHS
A major win for the LGBTQI community and a landmark in history, the US Supreme Court has ruled that a federal law, which prohibits discrimination based on sex, should be extended to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
The ruling extends the sex-based employment discrimination protections known as Title VII to LGBTQI people in all 50 states. The Supreme Court’s ruling arose from a trio of cases where LGBTQI workers said they had been fired because of their sexuality or gender identity.
In the court’s opinion in the 6-3 ruling, conservative justice Neil Gorsuch wrote: “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”
“Consider, for example, an employer with two employees, both of whom are attracted to men. The two individuals are, to the employer’s mind, materially identical in all respects, except that one is a man and the other a woman.”
“If the employer fires the male employee for no reason other than the fact he is attracted to men, the employer discriminates him for traits or actions it tolerates in his female colleague.”
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“The Supreme Court’s historic decision affirms what shouldn’t have even been a debate: LGBTQ Americans should be able to work without fear of losing jobs because of who they are. The decision gives us hope that as a country we can unite for the common good and continue the fight for LGBTQ acceptance,” said GLAAD President & CEO @sarahkateellis. “Especially at a time when the Trump Administration is rolling back the rights of transgender people and anti-transgender violence continues to plague our nation, this decision is a step towards affirming the dignity of transgender people, and all LGBTQ people.”
“Or take an employer who fires a transgender person who was identified as a male at birth but who now identifies as a female. If the employer retains an otherwise identical employee who was identified as female at brith, the employer intentionally penalises a person identified as male at birth for traits or actions that it tolerates in an employee identified as female at birth.”
“Again, the individual employee’s sex plays an unmistakable and impermissible role in the discharge decision.”
“In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee.”
“We do not hesitate to recognise today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law. ”
LGBTQI advocates have hailed the decision as the end of people hiding their sexuality at work and a momentous step forward for LGBTQI rights.
President of GLAAD, Sarah Kate-Ellis said: “Especially at a time when the Trump administration is rolling back the rights of transgender people and anti-transgender violence continues to plague our nation, this decision is a step towards affirming the dignity of transgender people and all LGBTQ people.”