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Supreme Court Extends Employment Protection to LGBTQ Workers

June 18th, 2020

Monday, the US Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act protects gay and transgender workers from employment discrimination.

U.S. Supreme Court Building

It is a decision that extends the protection nationwide and affirms a practice we at Green Key Resources have always followed.

“At Green Key Resources, equal employment opportunity has been, and will continue to be a fundamental principle,” said Adina Goldman, Director of Human Resources. “We’ve always been committed to a program of equal employment and advancement opportunity for all workers."

“We’re pleased with the Supreme Court’s ruling making it illegal for an employer to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, which is directly aligned with Green Key’s existing principles.”

The Court’s decision surprised LGBTQ activists, not only because of its 6-3 majority, but also because it was authored by Neil Gorsuch, the first of President Trump’s two conservative appointees.

In the 33 page majority opinion, Gorsuch declared, “An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”

Discussing the central part of the Civil Rights Act – Title VII – Gorsuch wrote, “The statute’s message for our cases is equally simple and momentous: An individual’s homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions. That’s because it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

Justice Samuel Alito wrote a 54 page dissent which was joined in by Justice Clarence Thomas. Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote a separate 28 page dissent.

The decision means that in the 25 states and 3 territories without explicit protections for LGBTQ people, it is now illegal to fire, refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against them in the workplace. Other states and territories have state laws in place prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual identity, which are now supplemented by the Supreme Court’s decision.

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