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Can You Be Fired For Being Gay, Lesbian, Trans?

On Behalf of | Mar 5, 2020 | Employment Discrimination, lgbt lesbian, Practice Areas, wrongful-termination |

Can You Be Fired For Being Gay, Lesbian, Trans? LGBT.

Best Ohio LGBT Discrimination Attorney Answer: How will the U.S. Supreme Court Rule on the new LGBT case? Is it illegal to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer employees? Could LGBT employees be at risk for discrimination? Is it wrongful termination to fire someone in Ohio because of sexual orientation? Could LGBT protections in the workplace end? LGBT Workplace Rights:

You may have heard on the news that the United States Supreme Court will decide whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects LBGT employees. Our employment discrimination lawyers have been buzzing around the office with predictions and discussing the implications this ruling will have for our clients.

As always,
it’s hard to predict exactly what SCOTUS will do. If it rules that Title VI
includes LGBT or LGBTQ+ employees under its protection, then we fight our asses
off to protect these workers from employment discrimination, harassment and wrongful termination. If SCOTUS
rules that LGBT and/or transgender employees are not covered under Title VII, things get a bit more difficult. It is
important to recognize that the Supreme Court’s ruling will have the biggest
impact on folks who live in areas where state and local governments have not
enacted laws to protect LGBT employees from unlawful discrimination. (See
What Are Cuyahoga’s
New LGBTQ Discrimination Laws?
I Was Fired Today
Because Of My Sexual Orientation!
; Can I Be Fired
Because I’m Gay Or Lesbian?
; Can My Church
Refuse To Hire Gay Cooks?
; Can My Employer
Openly Harass Me Because I’m Gay?
).

This case is the result of
three different cases from the lower courts being consolidated into one case. The
cases are from different jurisdictions from around the country that are
essentially at odds with one another. SCOTUS picked up the case to settle once
and for all who is protected under Title VII and give Americans a clear rule of
law. First, let’s take a look at the cases to see how this issue came before
SCOTUS.

The first case is about a man
named Donald Zarda, worked as a skydiving instructor in New York. Zarda told a
customer that he was gay to make her more comfortable being strapped together.
Afterwards, the woman’s boyfriend complained to the company that she had felt
uncomfortable during the skydive knowing she was with a gay man. When his boss
fired him, he said that he was terminated for “inappropriate behavior in the
workplace.” Yeah. Right.

The trial court threw out
Zarda’s Title VII claim. That court held that Title VII does not allow claims
alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation. BUT the Second Circuit
Court of Appeal
s reversed the district court’s holding, concluding that
Title VII does apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation because such
discrimination “is a subset of sex discrimination.” That’s one point for
protection of LGBT folks.

The second case is from
Georgia. Gerald Bostock worked as a child-welfare-services coordinator in
Clayton County, Georgia. Bostock joined the Hotlanta Softball League. HSL is a
softball league for the LGBT community in Atlanta. It’s boasts that it’s a
“safe space” for queer players to enjoy themselves and be competitive.
Coworkers at the child-welfare-services center found out that Bostock
participated in the HSL and started making fun of him at work. He was openly
criticized by supervisors and coworkers for being gay. Bostock argued that
after the county figured out he was gay, the county falsely accused him of mismanaging
public money so that it could fire him. Bostock took Clayton county to federal
court, to sue them for violating Title VII. Bostock contends that he never
mismanaged money and that the county was using that excuse as pretext to fire
him for being gay. However, the case was dismissed, the court held that Title
VII does not apply to discrimination based on sexual orientation.  The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals judges upheld the ruling. This holding from the eleventh
circuit is directly at odds with the holding from Zarda
case in the Second Circuit. This is one of the issues SCOTUS
will address when they hear these cases.

The third case that SCOTUS put
on its schedule is from Michigan. This case is important for a slightly
different reason because SCOTUS will decide whether Title VII’s protections
apply to transgender employees. Aimee Stephens sued her former boss after she
was fired from her job at a local funeral home. Her boss, Thomas Rost,
describes himself as a devout Christian. Stephens had worked at the funeral
home since 2007. When Stephens first started working for the funeral home she
identified as a man. Six years later, Stephens told Rost that she identified as
a woman and wanted to wear women’s clothes to work. Rost immediately fired
Stephens. He said that Stephens would violate the funeral home’s dress code
because men were required to wear suits and that Rost would be “violating God’s
commands” if he allowed Stephens to wear women’s clothing to work. The Sixth Circuit Court
of Appeal
s ruled in favor of Stephens holding
that federal sex discrimination laws protect transgender people too.

Can You Be Fired For Being Gay, Lesbian, Trans? LGBT.

Right now,
the laws in Ohio protect transgendered workers from unlawful discrimination,
but not necessarily gay, lesbian, and bisexual workers. But, this case puts
that status at risk. Depending on how SCOTUS rules, there is potential for
years of settled employment law precedent to be undermined. For example, the
landmark case Price Waterhouse v.
Hopkins
.
is an important case for employment
lawyers because it was the first Supreme Court decision that clarified that
employers can’t discriminate against employees based on stereotypes of how a
man or woman should appear or behave. These cases gave lawyers room to argue
for gay or lesbian clients who were discriminated against because of their
sexual orientation. Right now, as the case law stands, lawyers in many jurisdictions
can argue that termination because of sexual orientation is illegal. Our
employment lawyers argue that the employee was terminated because they do not
fit into the stereotype of how the employer thinks a “typical male or female”
should act. We make this argument as a form of gender
discrimination
. Our employment discrimination
attorneys

also argue that such discrimination crosses the line of gender association
claims – a white employee cannot be fired for dating or being married to a
black person and, likewise, an employee cannot be fired for dating or being
married to a Jew, Muslim or Mormon. To that end, an employee should not be able
to be fired based on the gender of who they marry or date.

However, the
Supreme Court will rule directly on this issue in the fall which could preclude
our employment attorneys from making this argument.

Again, it is
incredibly difficult to predict exactly what SCOTUS will do. The last major
LGBT case, Obergefell v. Hodges, was in 2015 and the Court looked a little different four
years ago. Justice Kennedy, who was once the swing vote, has been replaced by
Justice Brett Kavanaugh. As almost everyone is aware, Justice Kavanaugh was a
Trump pick for the highest Court, and it’s true Kavanaugh does lean more
conservatively. However, his judicial record on gay rights is unclear as of
now. So, it’s difficult to surmise what will actually happen.

The Supreme
Court heard oral argument on the case on October 8, 2019. At the oral
arguments, Justice Gorsuch conceded that the text of Title VII
was “close.”

Attorneys at The Spitz Law Firm are watching
this SCOTUS case. Best case scenario, SCOTUS rules that sexual orientation and
transgender status are protected under Title VII. Many of the lower district
courts are at odds with each other. Who is protected depends greatly on what
state a person lives in. SCOTUS is poised and ready to make a national
determination. However, people who oppose Title VII protecting LGBT and
transgender folds have a different mindset. Many people say that the Courts
should not have the power to make law. They argue that the states are in the
best position to make law and determine the wants and needs of their citizens.
But here, as with Obergefell, there
is great need for extended protections.

Until there
is a ruling, most federal courts are staying LGBTQ cases until the Supreme
Court makes a decision.

According to this study, conducted
by the Williams Institute out of UCLA, it is estimated that there are more than
nine million adults in the United States who are lesbian, gay, or bisexual or
identify as LGBT. That’s roughly the population of New Jersey. Similarly, it’s
estimated that there are nearly 700,00 transgender individuals living in the
United States. Are these people less deserving of protection than others? The
parallel that is often drawn is to that of interracial couples. It’s illegal to
discriminate against someone because the employer does not approve of
interracial marriage that an employee may be in. Humans cannot and should not
be expected to control whom they love. Who a person loves is not necessarily in
their control and they should not be penalized for it. Frankly, who anyone
chooses to love has absolutely no bearing on how well an employee can or cannot
perform their job. The LGBTQ+ communities need a win. Our attorneys at the
Spitz Law Firm are rooting for you.

If you are searching
“I need a lawyer because I have was wrongfully fired or terminated today;” or “I have
been discriminated against because I am …” gay, a lesbian, bisexual,
transgendered, queer; or even think that you might need an employment law
lawyer that works with LGBTQ employees, then it would be best to call the
right attorney
to schedule a free and
confidential
consultation. Call our office at 866-797-6040.  Your employment rights are constantly changing and the best way to find out if you can sue your boss, manager, supervisor or employer for discrimination, harassment, or wrongful termination
is to call The Spitz Law Firm and talk to its attorneys, who are experienced
and dedicated to protecting the rights of employees just like you.

Can You Be Fired For Being Gay, Lesbian, Trans? LGBT.

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