SCOTUS Makes Landmark Ruling on Title VII Discrimination
On June 15, the Supreme Court ruled that businesses could no longer discriminate against applicants or employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This means that employment decisions can no longer legally be made on the basis of whether an employee/applicant is gay or transgender. While many businesses have been prohibiting such discrimination through Company policy, this is the first time such a prohibition has been made as a matter of federal law.
The rationale centered around the fact that, when an employer discriminated against an employee or applicant due to sexual orientation or gender identity, they are doing so on the basis of sex, which is explicitly forbidden by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
This decision also invalidates any and all state laws with contrary directives on discrimination. Employers who do not already comply with the prohibition on sexual orientation/gender identity discrimination must now do so immediately. Employers should also alter their handbooks to include in their Equal Employment Statement that the employer does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.