Regarding whether discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity violates Title VII's prohibition against sex discrimination.
Full Case Title:
- Fairness in the Courts
- Workplace Equality and Economic Empowerment
- LGBTQ+ Rights
- Sex-Based Classification
- Joined Amicus Brief
Background of the Case
Three employees in three separate jurisdictions challenged their terminations from employment on the ground that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity violates Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination. While decisions in favor of the employees were issued in the 2nd and 6th Circuits, the 11th Circuit came to a contrary conclusion. These three decisions were appealed to the Supreme Court.
Our Role in the Case
Legal Momentum joined Amici Curiae, led by the National Women’s Law Center, in filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination covers claims of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Existing case law establishes that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sex stereotypes, including those relating to perceived personal, familial, or romantic relationships. Failure to read Title VII in this way would roll back protections against discrimination based on sex stereotyping long understood by the Court, the EEOC, employers, and employees alike to constitute impermissible workplace discrimination based on sex.
The foundational case in this litigation is Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 288 (l989), in which Legal Momentum (then called NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund) was closely involved. Like Legal Momentum’s amicus brief in Price Waterhouse thirty years ago, the brief in the conjoined cases before the court today utilizes social science research to explain why workplace discrimination against LGBTQ individuals is sex stereotyping that should be barred under Title VII.
The cases were argued in the U.S. Supreme Court in October 2019 and a decision is pending.