New Supreme Court Ruling Offers Federal Protections to LGBT Employees

Some 56 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was passed, the United States Supreme Court has decided that Title VII of the law applies to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This long-awaited ruling came in the middle of Pride Month, with a shocking 6-to-3 majority. Before this ruling, it was still legal in more than half of the country to fire someone just because of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Although California has some of the widest LGBT workplace protections, the addition of federal protections is a huge victory for workers. Before this case, states were left with sometimes unclear guidance on what did and did not constitute discrimination on the basis of sex. Now, the country’s highest court has laid out guidance that every state must follow.

Unfortunately, some employers still violate these laws and engage in illegal workplace discrimination against gay, bisexual, and transgender workers. If you are facing discrimination by your coworkers, managers, or supervisors, call Davtyan Law Firm today. Our firm focuses exclusively on employment law cases in California, including workplace discrimination. Our mission is for all California workers to be treated fairly, regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation.

The Case: Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia

Gerald Bostock was a county employee in an Atlanta suburb, where he had worked since 2003. He later joined a gay softball league and talked about it at work. A few months later, Bostock was fired from his job for “conduct unbecoming a county employee” following an audit of funds he controlled. Bostock believed this was just a cover for firing him because of his sexual orientation. At the time, Georgia had no protections against workplace discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity.

Over the years, Bostock’s case worked its way through the legal system, ultimately landing at the Supreme Court. Over 200 major companies voiced their support of the case, including Amazon, Walt Disney and Coca-Cola. On June 15, 2020 Justice Neil Gorsuch delivered the opinion of the Court, stating that workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity does in fact violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

California LGBT Workplace Protections

The state of California has provided workplace discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation for over a decade and is considered one of the most progressive states in this arena. These protections come from the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Although the act was first passed in 1959, protections for gay and transgender workers did not come about until the 2000s.

Currently, California law protects workers from employment discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex or gender, including sexual orientation and gender identity. Thus, your employer may not treat you differently because you are gay, bisexual, lesbian, or transgender. This includes employment decisions like hiring, firing, promotions, pay rates and bonuses.

Have You Been Discriminated Against? Call Davtyan Law Firm

If you have been the victim of unlawful employment discrimination or harassment in California, or if you were forced to quit your job because of severe and frequent harassment at work, contact the employment discrimination legal team at Davtyan Law Firm today to discuss your legal rights. Our experienced employment discrimination team can determine whether you have a case and establish your best options for moving forward. You may be able to file an employment law claim against your employer to recover compensation for lost wages and benefits and other monetary damages.

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Based in California, we focus exclusively on employment law, protecting employees' rights. We handle a broad range of employment disputes including wrongful termination, harassment, discrimination, retaliation, wage and hour issues, among others.

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