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What to Know About the Supreme Court’s Ruling on LGBTQ+ Protections

What to Know About the Supreme Court’s Ruling on LGBTQ+ Protections

A recent ruling from the United States Supreme Court stated that LGBTQ+ people cannot be discriminated in the workplace for their gender and sexual orientation. Here’s what you need to know about this landmark decision and how it may impact your organization.


What Decision Was Made?

In a landmark 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court of the United States determined that the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBTQ+ individuals from discrimination in the workplace. The decision, which goes into effect immediately, was announced on June 15, 2020.

The majority opinion was penned by Justice Neil Gorsuch, who, as reported by NPR, determined that firing employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity violates the language laid out in the 1964 law that “bans discrimination in employment based on race, religion, national origin or sex.”

As a result, employers cannot fire someone for being LGBTQ+.


What Does this Mean for My Team?

The ruling applies to companies with 15 or more employees, while those under that threshold remain subject to state and local regulations.

Likewise, workers who are not typically covered by anti-bias and anti-discrimination laws—such as independent contractors—are also not shielded under this decision. Still, much like other protections offered in the Civil Rights Act, even if your organization remains under the 15-person threshold, employers should adhere to anti-discrimination regulations and protections.

Not only would these efforts save employers from potentially harmful litigation—they can foster a more inclusive work environment, which helps recruitment and retention. 


What Next?

Additional resources about fighting workplace discrimination—including training, how you can cultivate a more open environment, and how to discuss issues with your team—can be found on the BerniePortal blog.

Also available on the blog is a comprehensive list of labor laws that apply to small businesses. In the meantime, stay up to date on all the latest industry news by subscribing to BerniePortal’s email distribution list.

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