As regular readers of our blog will already know, the issue of whether Title VII prohibits employment discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity has been a hot topic in federal litigation for several years. Our blog has regularly covered these developments and often expressed that this question will likely require clarification from the Supreme Court.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on three cases raising this question. Two of the three cases involve employees being allegedly terminated due to their sexual orientation, and one case involves an employee being allegedly terminated due to gender identity. In the appellate courts’ decisions that the Supreme Court will now consider, the employees won on two cases (one of the sexual orientation cases and the gender identity case) and lost in the third (the second sexual orientation case).
As many excellent summaries and analyses of the arguments have already been published, we will not do so here. If you are interested in a thoughtful recap, please check out SCOTUSBlog’s Argument Analysis page for these cases. While there is no formal timetable for the Court to issue a decision, a number of prognosticators have stated a decision could come as late as June 2020. Of course, we will continue to monitor these cases and provide any updates.
In the meantime, however, please note that the Supreme Court’s decision in these cases will not affect any state laws that prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, whether the state laws do so expressly or under the umbrella of sex discrimination.