Millions of LGBTQ people will have new civil rights in a big step forward following a decision by the Supreme Court that found employers cannot discriminate on the basis of workers being transgender or gay. On Monday, June 15, the Supreme Court ruled that it breaks federal law for employers to discriminate against people because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Federal law mandates that an employer cannot discriminate on the basis of sex, race, national origin, or religion, through the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s Title VII.
This new case was Gerald Lynn Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. The question was whether the prohibition against sex-based discrimination covered LGBTQ employees.
The court’s four liberal justices were joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and conservative Justice Neil Gorsuch in their 6-3 majority, determining that LGBTQ workers are a protected class. Gender identity and sexual orientation are included within the federal prohibition of workplace sex discrimination, said the court.
This law is expected to have sweeping consequences. Anti-discrimination laws on the books with more than half of US states omit mention of gender identity and sexual orientation. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, most of the 8 million LGBTQ employees in the US live in those states that lack coverage. The Supreme Court has established legal protection for the LGBTQ community in the workplace.
What To Do If You Experience LGBTQ Job Discrimination
Take these four steps if you experience gender identity or sexual orientation discrimination in the workplace:
- Get legal assistance
When you look for an attorney, make sure that they have a record successfully representing those with challenging job discrimination cases. They should know some of the key arguments that will be used by the opposition.
- Get documentation
Gather as much evidence as you can. Compile a list of witnesses. Keep a journal that details instances of discrimination. Your notes should include information on events preceding instances of discrimination. Write down everyone involved, what was said, and how the treatment was different than it would have been for a non-LGBTQ employee.
- Report the discrimination
Find out how internal complaints are by looking at your employee manual, workforce policies, and/or union contract.
Consider how you can make a grievance with your union or workplace. You could do that through your supervisor, HR, or your union. Whomever you contact, make sure everything is in writing and that you retain a copy.
- Take legal action
You want to both understand deadlines and seek an employee rights attorney as soon as possible. Regardless of whether you get a lawyer, you want to make an LGBTQ discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Go through the closest EEOC office to file your charge. Review the agency’s How to File page for more information.
Here are contact details for the Tampa location:
EEOC Tampa Field Office
501 East Polk Street
Tampa, FL 33602
Phone: (800) 669-4000
TTY: (800) 669-6820
Finding The Right Workplace Discrimination Attorney
It is important to know that the attorney who is representing you is both highly engaged and highly skilled in this area of law. At Wenzel Fenton Cabassa, PA, we have earned a strong reputation directly focusing on employment law and sex discrimination cases. Request a free consultation today.