Can Employers Discriminate Against LGBTQ Employees?

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Hi, I’m Danny Karon, your Lovable Lawyer, here with your quick shot of legal wellness. It’s pride month. Last week, I invited you to weigh in with your most pressing LGBTQ legal issues. Well, I am thrilled to report that I received over 200 comments and when I went through them, one question dominated all the others. Can my employer discriminate against me because of my sexual orientation or gender identity?

Because I’m your Lovable Lawyer, let’s start with the law. Title Seven of the 1964 Civil Rights Act makes it illegal for an employer to discriminate because of sex. A statute, or the law, is one thing. How it’s applied, that’s another. That often takes us to the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2020, the Supreme Court considered three employment cases – Bostock vs. Clayton County, Georgia, Altitude Express vs. Zarda, and RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes vs. EEOC. In the consolidated case, the court considered whether Title VII’s prohibition against employment discrimination because of sex includes discrimination based on sexual orientation. In a 6-3 decision, the court found that the sex of each of the employees played a role in their adverse employment actions and interpreting Title VII literally, the court concluded that the discrimination was illegal. Sure, the court acknowledged their employers’ argument that Congress, when in enacted Title VII in 1964, contemplated that the term “sex” referred to status as either male or female as determined by reproductive biology. Yet the court added that Congress could have prohibited discrimination solely because of sex but it didn’t. So, because the sex of each employee combined with other factors played a role in their adverse employment actions, the court reasoned that they were discriminated against because of their sex in violation of Title VII explaining that it’s impossible to discriminate against someone for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against them based on sex. As a result, Federal Law unquestionably protects millions of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers from employment discrimination.

So, you asked for it and you got it – some legal wellness concerning the most significant LGBTQ-related question that I received. I hope this provides you peace of mind and that you enjoy the rest of pride month.

If you’d like to learn more about legal wellness, please subscribe to my YouTube channel or visit me at Until next time, I’m Danny Karon, your Lovable Lawyer.

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