LGBT Employment Discrimination Cases to Be Argued Before the Supreme Court

Tomorrow, Justices will consider cases impacting gender and sexual orientation discrimination

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The US Supreme Court will hear oral arguments tomorrow in three cases that address whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits workplace discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Two of the cases—Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and Altitude Express Inc v. Zarda—address sexual orientation, and the third case, Harris Funeral Homes v. Stephens, addresses gender identity.

  • There are an estimated 7.1 million lesbian, gay and bisexual workers (ages 16 and older) in the US and half of them—more than 3.5 million LGB people—live in states without express statutory protections against sexual orientation discrimination in employment.
  • Approximately 1 million workers (ages 16 and older) identify as transgender in the US and more than half of them—562,000 people—live in states without express statutory protections against gender identity discrimination in employment.
  • In a recent survey from the Williams Institute, 60% of LGB people reported being fired from or denied a job, and 48% reported being denied a promotion or receiving a negative evaluation, compared to 40% and 32% respectively among heterosexuals.
  • A recent study found that between 2012 and 2016, 9,127 charges alleging sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination were filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). About half of them included claims of discriminatory terminations and harassment.
  • That study also found proportionally more allegations of serious discrimination issues, including harassment, discharge, and retaliation, in states without anti-discrimination statutes.

“Employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity can have a profound impact on the financial, emotional and physical well-being of LGBT people,” said Adam Romero, the Arnold D. Kassoy Scholar of Law and Federal Policy Director at the Williams Institute. “Because more than half of the states fail to prohibit sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, the Court’s decision will dictate whether millions of LGBT people have any remedy at all against discrimination at work.”

For more information on the impact of the Court’s decision on LGBT people, read the Williams Institute’s amici briefs.

 

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