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Against Discrimination of LGBTQ people at workplaces in the US

On 15th June 2020, the Supreme Court of the United States issued the most sweeping decision which protects the LGBTQ people primarily from discrimination in their workplaces. This has been done in lieu to protect them from sex determination at workplaces and also that they get equal rights when they seek a job or become an employee.


Although all the battles are still not won by the LGBTQ people in the US, as there is no mention of sexual orientation or gender identity under the Federal Laws of the US. But this is definitely a strong step towards their betterment as citizens of the US. The ban on sex determination at workplaces is bound to have a very great impact on the lives of the LGBTQ workers and will also open up more avenues for them in the professional sphere.


The important question to ponder upon is whether an employer has the right to fire an individual just because of his sexual orientation? Is homophobia in workplaces acceptable? The answer to this question is right on the table in front of us, decided by the Supreme Court of the US. It is not morally justified nor it is ethically correct to fire someone for their sexual preferences, which yet again is very personal and absolutely out of the purview of professional workspace.


This judgment is predicted to have a rippling effect across the entire nation as most of the workplaces are now bound to ban places where there is workplace bias on the basis of sexual orientation. The judgment has its genesis lying in Title VII’s meaning, the case where a woman was fired from a Michigan funeral home as she turned out to be a Transgender and Aimee Stephens, (passed away last month), who had presented herself as a man at R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in Michigan and almost after 6 years when she revealed her desire to wear women’s clothes she was fired by the owner, Thomas Rost. In her complaint, Stephens had cited the fact that her employer fired her because of his stereotypical conception for her sex.


Many other cases lying before the courts in the US under Title VII, where the judges have had their judgments in the favour of the LGBTQ community. In the case of Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc., 1998 the SC discovered that Title VII’s ban on sex discrimination also prohibited workplace harassment in the case of a man who was understood to be gay. Time and again we see the fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ community is not something recent but has been going on for a long time. It is a big achievement for this community that this judgment is in favor of their interests, especially at a time when Trump’s Administration scrapped healthcare protection provided to them under the Affordable Care Act.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Rudra Prasad is a 4th-year student of Law, currently pursuing law from Kirit P. Mehta School of Law, NMIMS University, Mumbai.

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