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U.S. Supreme Court Bars Workplace Discrimination Against LGBTQ Workers

INTRODUCTION

On 15 June 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court in a massively influential judgment ruled that gender discrimination on sexuality or gender identity in the workforce is explicitly banned underneath the federal civil rights law. The historic 6-3 decision is the biggest moment for All LGBT citizens since the time when the Supreme Court allowed identical-sex marriage nationally in 2015. In the verdict, two federal judges assisted the four libertarians of the tribunal. Neil Gorsuch, a 2017 Trump elected official who penned the judgment, and John Roberts, Chief Judge.


The judges declared that LGBTQ workers are safe under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and that it prohibits discrimination against employees on grounds of race, sexual preference, colour, nationality as well as religious belief. Workplace prejudice toward homosexual and transsexual workers in almost all of the nation has been lawful, despite 28 States in the U.S. missing robust anti-employment discrimination laws. The decision-in two gay-rights lawsuits from Georgia as well as New York and even a Michigan transgender-rights lawsuit-acknowledges existing federal workplace safeguards.


WHAT WAS THE CASE ABOUT?

The ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court originated from three combined lawsuits, plus two other, concerning discrimination charges targeting homosexual people in Georgia and New York. The lawsuit is named Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia. In the other case Aimee Stephens, a transsexual woman who died last month, was expelled from her profession at a Garden City funeral service in 2013 after telling her supervisor that she was planning to start dressing like a female coworker because she was outside from her workplace. Throughout her court case, Stephens made the argument that the conduct infringed the 1964 federal Civil Rights Act.


The judicial battle centred on the concept of 'sexuality' under Title VII. The Supreme Court agreed with the petitioners that prejudice towards homosexual as well as transsexual employees was fundamentally dependent around their sexuality, which therefore thus held unconstitutional.


WHAT DOES THE VERDICT SIGNIFY?

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination on the grounds of gender, race, texture, nationality as well as religious belief. The governmental equality and human rights commission, which imposes the anti-discrimination law underneath President Obama, said it involved gender identification and gender preference. Yet Trump's government has been working to scale back certain Medicare and other safeguards. Although some United States had consciously strengthened these safeguards for the LGBT employees already but many states have still not done it.


The verdict did not circumvent numerous different law relating to LGBT rights such as separate state statutes which restrict discrimination based on sexual orientation must also be construed as concealing sexual orientation or gender identity.


WHAT DID THE SUPREME COURT SAY?

Justice Neil Gorsuch, ruling for such 6-to-3 plurality of the bench, stated that although the Civil Rights Act would not expressly address the rights of gays or transgendered people, the legislation has been interpreted widely enough to require that they should be shielded from prejudice in workplace areas including recruiting, discharging, compensation and advancement. Gorsuch referred to previous rulings banning discrimination on the grounds of gender or sexuality roles and concluded: "It is difficult to discriminate against a person whether he or she is gay or transgender without discriminating against that person based on sex." The decision was rejected by three independent judges: Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh.


WHAT’S NEXT FOR LGBTQ WORKERS?

Even though the ruling has broad implications, activists for homosexual as well as Trans individuals claim its scope beyond workplace discrimination could be restricted. Congress and state legislators ought to pass legislation in fields such as healthcare, affordable services, educational programs and retail outlets. However, it is a huge victory for the LGBTQ community but they realize that they still have miles to go before they can sleep peacefully.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SAURAV KUMAR is currently a 2ND YEAR, B.B.A. LLB. (Hons.) a student from NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY, ODISHA. You can contact the author at https://www.linkedin.com/in/saurav-kumar-33081b1b0/

Editor: Jayant Upadhyay

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