Once Upon A Time – Civil Rights Didn’t Mean Anything
Up until June 15th, employers in over half the States in the Nation could fire someone simply because they were Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, or Transgender. As astonishing as they may sound to some, to others it was a very real fact of life.
We are amid a significant Black Lives Matter movement, and the timing of this United States Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County (2020) reminds us that inclusion and anti-discrimination are now more important than ever. My grade school children learn as I did, and my parents before me did; we live in a country with the basic principle of majority rule with minority rights.
US Supreme Court Decision Hanging in the Balance of LGBTQ Discrimination
Surprisingly to some, in 2020, people can be legally fired from their job because of their sexual preferences and gender identity. Certainly, there are varied social opinions surrounding these matters. Regardless of your political, religious, and social views, these issues are being actively discussed by public interest groups and in both our legislatures and courts.
The Supreme Court of the United States heard three cases this past Fall, Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga., No. 17-1618, and Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623. The case on transgender rights is R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 18-107.
As the decision weighs in the balance, some States have begun taking matters into their own hands. For example, a recent ballot initiative was launched in Michigan to add anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people to make this an election issue if the legislature doesn’t support such a direction. Another example of this is the Virginia Values Act, where the Virginia State General Assembly bill currently being discussed would codify protections for those in the LGBTQ community.
Asserting LGBTQ Protection Under The Civil Rights Act
The Supreme Court made history this week by asserting the protection of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include people regardless of their gender identity and sexual preferences.
We have seen literally hundreds of legislative proposals across the country in the past couple of years around ensuring workplaces are free from sexual harassment and discrimination. This landmark decision only continues the directional movement in our country.
This stems the question: Is your company where it needs to be?