Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
US Supreme Court

Supreme Court Rules Workplace Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Transgender Status is Unlawful

Today, the Supreme Court ruled that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and transgender status is unlawful. Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, No. 17-1623, Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, No. 17-1618, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, No. 18-107 ___ S.Ct. ___, 2020 WL 3146686 (June 15, 2020). The Supreme Court stated that “[a]n employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

We at Lieff Cabraser, as long-standing advocates for justice and civil rights in and out of the workplace, wish heartfelt congratulations to the brave individuals and their lawyers who have made this happen. Sadly, two of the plaintiffs have passed away during the long history of these case, but we honor their tremendous legacy.

While Bostock and its companion cases confirmed that the unlawfulness of LGBTQ discrimination presented a clear question, this does not mean the outcome was guaranteed or easy. We also recognize the workers who have been speaking up and out as part of the path to today’s ruling, including our own client, civilian army employee Tamara Lusardi. Lieff Cabraser, along with the Transgender Law Center, represented Ms. Lusardi in her successful challenge to her employer’s restricting her access to the female restroom, and subjecting her to hostile and abnegating remarks about her transition and gender. Lusardi v. McHugh, Appeal No. 0120133395, Agency No. ARREDSTON11SEP05574. We are proud that Lusardi v. McHugh established the foundational precedent that denial of access to a restroom consistent with one’s gender identity is sex discrimination in violation of Title VII.

All of us are all still feeling the pain of recent and ongoing events, but workers everywhere can celebrate today’s important step toward a lawful and safe workplace.