What We Know:
- On Tuesday, October 8, 2019, three major cases will be going to the Supreme Court. These cases will be discussing workplace rights for transgenders as well as other LGBTQ+ individuals. At the center of the first case is Aimee Stephens, a trans woman who was fired from her job at a funeral home after coming out as transgender. She filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency that enforces protections against workplace discrimination, which in turn filed a lawsuit against R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes in 2014.
- Her employer officially stated that she was fired for refusing to adhere to the company’s dress code for “male” employees. However, EEOC’s central claim is that firing Stephens was a form of discrimination on the basis of sex as outlined in Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, passed in 1964, prohibits discrimination by employers on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
- The second case is Altitude Express v. Zarda. Don Zarda was fired from his job as a skydiving instructor at Altitude Express after a customer learned Zarda was gay and complained to his employer. Although he died in a sky diving accident, his partner, Bill Moore, and his sister, Melissa Zarda, have continued the lawsuit on behalf of his estate.
- The third case is Bostock v. Clayton County. Gerald Bostock was employed as a special advocate director in Clayton County, Georgia, where he was subjected to homophobic slurs and eventually fired for being gay. The county contends that he was let go for alleged improper handling of funds, even though it did not file charges against him.
There are currently 22 states that have statewide laws protecting people from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations but this supreme court decision could change all of that.