In 1964, US President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, a piece of history-changing legislation that made it illegal to discriminate against people based on their race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. The Civil Rights Act included several sections, otherwise known as Titles, specifically defining areas where discrimination would be deemed illegal. For example, Title VII protects people from being discriminated against in the workplace.
Recently, several cases were brought to the US Supreme Court that involved the firing of a person because of their sexual orientation. One case involved a county employee named Gerald Bostock who was fired by Clayton County, Georgia, after he started participating in a gay softball league. Was Bostock being discriminated against because of his sexual orientation? Does Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protect Bostock?
According to six out of the nine Supreme Court justices, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act also protects gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers against discrimination in the workplace. When an employer fires someone because of their sex, that employee is being discriminated against. The decision was handed down by Justice Neil Gorsuch who wrote, “For an employer to discriminate against employees for being homosexual or transgender, the employer must intentionally discriminate against individual men and women in part because of sex. That has always been prohibited by Title VII’s plain terms—and that ‘should be the end of the analysis.’”