It is now a violation of federal law for an employer to fire an employee because the employee is homosexual or transgender.
The United States Supreme Court, issued its ruling, in a 6 to 3 decision, on June 15, 2020, in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. Under the Court’s ruling, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 now prohibits employment discrimination based on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) status.
The Court’s decision changes the law of Florida. The federal Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which encompasses Florida, Georgia and Alabama) had previously held that sexual orientation was not protected under Title VII.
In the opinion for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch stated:
“An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. and Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor joined the majority. Justices Samuel Alito Jr., Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas dissented.
Significantly, the Court did not address the effect of today’s ruling on sex-segregated bathrooms, locker rooms, and dress codes. These other issues will continue to be hotly litigated.
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