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Long-awaited SCOTUS ruling augments “protected” classification

| Jun 29, 2020 | Employment Law - Employers |

“Married on Sunday, fired on Monday.”

That pithy little mantra might not mean much, if anything, to many workers, but is has certainly resonated with one select workplace demographic in California and nationally.

That is the country’s large and diverse gay, lesbian and transgender community. Some members of that group can unfortunately relate to that above aphorism in an immediately personal way.

Employees have been shielded against on-the-job discrimination for decades by the 1964 Civil Rights Act and its list of enumerated Title VII protected categories. Many readers can likely tick off most or all of those classifications. They range from race, national origin and religion to disability, pregnancy and additional factors.

Including sex. Many people believe that the sex category has logically and always included safeguards for the LGBTQ community, but that has never been true.

Until two weeks ago when, on June 15, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch penned a 6-3 Court opinion adding to the umbrella of protections accorded under the sex category. Gorsuch stressed in the majority ruling that, “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating … based on sex.”

An in-depth National Public Radio piece on the ruling called it “remarkable” and noted this likely surprising truth for many readers: Nearly half of all American states have historically provided no protections at all for LGBTQ workers.

That will now change. Questions concerning the ruling’s scope and application can be directed to a proven employment law attorney.