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In a landmark 6 to 3 vote, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is prohibited under federal civil rights law. Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618, decided June 15, 2020.
The decision was based on the cases of two gay men and one transgender woman, who were fired from their jobs and sued their employers alleging discrimination. The decision, which was authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, provides that “an employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undistinguishable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Before this decision, employment discrimination based on sexual orientation was not illegal in a majority of states. This ruling will extend protections to millions of workers nationwide.