One-hundred-twenty-eight members from both houses of Congress are pushing add more specific LGBT protections to the Civil Rights act, originally enacted in 1964. While Title VII of the civil rights act has long provided the basis for defense against workplace discrimination, states throughout the country interpret its implications for the LGBT community in widely varied ways. In Tennessee, there is even some legislation that prohibits the enforcement or passing of anti-LGBT discrimination laws.
The Congressmen and Congresswomen supporting and authoring the bill are seeking to strengthen the rights of the LGBT community throughout the nation and make their standing in the workplace more secure. The authors write, “Different interpretations of Title VII have led to uncertainty in the workplace and left LGBT Americans inconsistently protected from workplace harassment and discrimination, despite applicable federal law.” The authors of the amendment continue to express that they recognize the Civil Rights Act as already implying protection from workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, although some states and Second Circuit court decisions have chosen to not interpret the law in this way.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has already determined that Title VII does apply to those facing discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, but these rulings may or not be considered legally binding decisions by various courts. The update to the Civil Rights Act seeks to further cement the strength of these interpretations.
Workplace discrimination is an ugly practice that only undermines all sectors of the business community. Those facing discrimination from employers or coworkers deserve to have their grievances given proper representation and may be eligible to seek damages through a workplace discrimination suit. An experienced workplace discrimination attorney can help ensure their rights are protected and their discrimination experience is met with the dignity they deserve.