The Supreme Court handed a big win to the LGBT community Monday, ruling in a 6-3 decision that an employer who fires a worker for being gay or transgender violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act — which already protected people from employer sex discrimination, as well as discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin.
The decision dealt with three cases. In one, Clayton County, Georgia employee Gerald Bostock was fired from his job as a child welfare advocate for conduct “unbecoming” a county employee soon after he joined a gay softball league. In another, New York skydiving instructor Donald Zarda was fired days after mentioning he was gay, and in a third, Michigan funeral home worker Aimee Stephens was fired after she told her employer that she would be identifying as a woman six years into her employment.
“Ours is a society of written laws. Judges are not free to overlook plain statutory commands on the strength of nothing more than suppositions about intentions or guesswork about expectations. In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee,” said the court’s opinion, written by Justice Neil Gorsuch.