Supreme Court to hear LGBT rights cases

Three cases are headed to the Supreme Court for ruling on whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act extends protections to people based on their gender identity and sexual orientation.

Residents in North Carolina may well know that there is some social dissent in the country when it comes to transgender, gay or lesbian people. Regardless of a person's personal feelings on the matter, many people may assume that the civil rights laws that are in place to protect all employees against harassment or discrimination in the workplace cover LGBT employees. Apparently, there is some dispute about this.

Three cases, three different paths to the high court

As reported by Vox, in late April 2019, the United States Supreme Court agreed to hear three different cases that all relate to civil rights protections for LGBT employees in the workplace. Previously, the high court has refused to hear a case concerning this matter.

According to CNBC, one of the cases involves the rights of a person based on gender identity and the other two pertain to the rights of a person's sexual orientation.

In the first case, a transgender woman was fired from her job at a funeral home after revealing that she was female. The U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the terminated employee, indicating that discrimination on the basis of sex includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

In the other cases, employees were fired due to their sexual orientation. In one matter, the U.S. 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the terminated employee. In the other matter, however, the case was initially dismissed by a court, an action that was subsequently upheld by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Divided governmental opinions

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has stated that it believes Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation as well as on sex. The current presidential administration, however, adamantly disagrees with this point of view.

Laws banning discrimination

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination but there is no federal law that explicitly bans discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. A handful of states do have such laws in place. These states are mostly on the west coast and in the northeast with a few states in the Midwest also having such protections in place. North Carolina has no such law protecting LGBT workers.

Legal assistance is important when fighting discrimination

Anyone in North Carolina who finds themselves on the receiving end of discrimination in the workplace should contact a lawyer for assistance. This will give them someone to advocate on their behalf who knows the laws and how to help put the laws to work for all people.