Until the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock in 2020, in most states, it was legal to discriminate against workers because they were gay and/or transgender. The fact that institutional discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community was permitted to fester that long out in the open was a stain on our nation and a national embarrassment.
LGBTQ+ Protections in the Workplace
Over the last 30 years, Congress attempted unsuccessfully to amend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly add LGBTQ+ protections in the workplace.
Courts in some jurisdictions, state legislatures, and city governments stepped into the void and held that discrimination against LGTBQ+ people was in effect discrimination against them because of their sex.
However, whether an LGBTQ+ employee was protected from discrimination varied widely depending on one’s state of residence.
U.s. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock vs. Georgia
The Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock – at the stroke of a pen – extended LGBTQ+ protections to workers in every corner of our nation. In that case, a child welfare advocate for Clayton County, Georgia was fired for conduct “unbecoming an employee” after joining a gay softball league.
Mr. Bostock’s claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 were dismissed at the district court and appellate court levels, but his perseverance to the Supreme Court was rewarded.
Equal Employee Protection from Discrimination
Today, LGBTQ+ employees are afforded the same protections from discrimination based on sex that both heterosexual men and women have benefitted from since Title VII’s inception in 1964.
Importantly, the Court in Bostock did not limit discrimination to wrongful termination actions; it also now violates Title VII to harass an LGBQT+ employee, deny them promotion opportunities, or pay them unequally.
NC LGBTQ+ Friendly Employment Law Office
Though progress has been made, the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock did NOT wipe away the bias that still permeates America. Discrimination against the LGTBQ+ community is still rampant and, in many cases, even violent.
At Van Kampen Law, we proudly fly a rainbow flag with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the porch of our North Carolina employment law office and will continue to until this pernicious form of discrimination is extinguished.