The Supreme Court has agreed to hear cases that may answer the question of whether or not LGBT workers are protected by Title VII. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers against discrimination based on sex. However, it is unclear whether that covers sexual orientation or those who are transgender. Some courts have granted that protection while others have not yet ruled.
The 11th Circuit ruled that it was permissible to fire an individual for being homosexual. In its decision, the court pointed to a case from 1979 that it felt compelled to adhere to. The employee in question claimed that he was terminated because he was gay while the county said that it was because he mismanaged funds. During the Obama administration, the government argued that Title VII did apply to LGBT workers. However, the Trump administration is arguing that it does not.
Currently, the Supreme Court is compromised of justices who are seen to have conservative views. Therefore, it is not certain that they will agree with rulings made by the 2nd Circuit as well as a court in Cincinnati that LGBT workers are protected by Title VII. A decision is expected by the Supreme Court at some point in 2020.
Those who face harassment at work could potentially take legal action against their employers. Generally speaking, workers are protected against companies making employment decisions based on a worker’s gender, race or national origin. An attorney could review a case to determine if an employer’s choice to terminate, demote or otherwise potentially harm an employee was made illegally. If so, an individual might be able to recover compensation for back pay and other damages.