Title VII

Supreme Court to Hear Landmark LGBTQ Cases

On Monday April 22, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States has agreed to hear three cases which seek rulings on whether sexual orientation, transgender status, and transitioning status are protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act after years of courts and government agencies taking conflicting positions on this landmark issue. The Supreme Court will likely issue decisions on these hot button cases in 2020 at the beginning of the next presidential election race. Title VII makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate against any individual “because of” the individual’s sex. While it is understood that the phrase “because of sex” includes gender stereotyping, the law remains in flux as to whether discrimination “because of sex” includes discrimination based on sexual orientation, transgender status, and transitioning status. Numerous courts and federal government agencies have taken opposing stances on this issue. For example, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has filed an amicus brief arguing that discrimination based on sexual orientation is not encompassed as discrimination “because of sex” under Title VII. The DOJ’s brief directly conflicts with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (“EEOC”) stance, as articulated in an amicus brief, which contends that sexual orientation falls squarely [read more]

Ending Gender Discrimination in the Workplace by Sarah Chon

Two recent Supreme Court decisions highlight some obstacles still impeding the goal of achieving of full gender equality in the workforce through the judicial system.  Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in the workplace but in two recent cases, the Supreme Court narrowed the efficacy of Title VII as a remedial statute.  Congress has already taken action to overturn the first of the two cases but has not overturned the second.  Accordingly, significant barriers remain for female employees bringing Title VII discrimination cases.  Further, the cases establish a troubling precedent implying that pregnancy discrimination does not actually constitute sex discrimination. In the first case, Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the Supreme Court held that Lilly Ledbetter could not bring her pay discrimination claim against Goodyear because more than 180 days had passed since the alleged discriminatory act.[1] In 2009, Congress overturned the Ledbetter decision by amending Title VII to say that an unlawful employment practice occurs each time an individual is affected by the application of a discriminatory compensation decision.[2] The second case, AT&T v. Hulteen, involved a group of female employees at AT&T who took pregnancy leaves [read more]