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Religious Tolerance logo


 

2019-JUL: Three cases before the U.S.
Supreme Court about employees
fired for having a homosexual
orientation
or for being transgender:

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Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act (1964-JUL-02) is:

"... a landmark civil rights and labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, and racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations. 1

A year later, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC] 2 was founded. It is a federal agency that administers and enforces five civil rights laws against workplace discrimination:

  • Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964,
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act,
  • The Equal Pay Act, and
  • The Genetic Information Act (GINA).

An employee who feels that they have been discriminated against in violation of one of these laws first goes to the EEOC, presents their complaints, and asks for a notice of a "right to sue." If successful, they must file a lawsuit within 90 days in a federal or state court against the employer. 3

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The EEOC web site states:

"Discrimination based on sexual orientation also necessarily states aclaim of sex discrimination under Title VII because:

  1. It literally involves treating an applicant or employee differently based on his or her sex;

  2. It takes sex into account by treating him or her differently for associating with a person of the same sex, and,

  3. It involves discrimination based on gender stereotypes --employer beliefs about the person to whom the employee should be attracted because of the employee's sex. ..." 4

Examples of sex discrimination involving sexual orientation include:

  • Denying an employee a promotion because he is gay or straight.

  • Discriminating in terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, such as by providing a lower salary to an employee because of sexual orientation, or denying spousal health insurance benefits to a female employee because her legal spouse is a woman, while providing spousal health insurance to a male employee whose legal spouse is a woman.

  • Harassing an employee because of his or her sexual orientation, for example, by derogatory terms, sexually oriented comments, or disparaging remarks for associating with a person of the same or opposite sex.

It also violates Title VII to discriminate against or harass an employee because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity in combination with another unlawful reason, for example, on the basis of transgender status and race, or sexual orientation and disability." 4

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Three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court:

According to GLAD:

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), in partnership with Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP, have filed a friend-of-the-court brief 5 supporting employees in three cases before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding the application of Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers." 6

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. "Civil Rights Act of 1964." Wikipedia, as on 2019-JUN-29, at: https://en.wikipedia.org/
  2. "EEOC Home Page" is at: https://www.eeoc.gov/
  3. "EEOC – Equal Employment Opportunity Commission," Smith & Green attorneys, at: https://smithgreenlaw.com/
  4. Baldwin v. Dep't of Transportation, EEOC Appeal No. 0120133080 (July 15, 2015).
  5. "BRIEF OF GLBTQ LEGAL ADVOCATES & DEFENDERS, NATIONAL CENTER FOR LESBIAN RIGHTS, ET AL. AS AMICI CURIAE IN SUPPORT OF THE EMPLOYEES," Glad, 2019-JUL, at: https://www.glad.org/
  6. "Equality Organizations Urge the Supreme Court Not to Invent an Exclusion of LGBTQ Workers from Title VII’s Protections Against Sex Discrimination," GLAD, 2019-JUL-03, at: https://www.glad.org/

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Copyright © 2019 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Original posting: 2019-JUL-03
Author: B.A. Robinson
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