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Sexual-orientation discrimination has reached the U.S. Supreme Court

Update on Bostock and Zarda: On June 15, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision involving the Bostick, Zarda, and Harris Funeral Homes cases. The court held that an employer who fires a person merely for being gay or transgender violates Title VII. The Harris Funeral Homes is discussed in another blog post.

Earlier this year, I predicted the issue of sexual-orientation discrimination was headed all the way to the United States Supreme Court. On September 7, 2017, the issue did, in fact, reach the Supreme Court when the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a petition for a writ of certiorari on behalf of Jameka Evans. Ms. Evans had sued her employer for allegedly firing her for being a lesbian.

Filing a petition is the first step in the appeal process before the Supreme Court. If the Court grants the writ, it will consider the case in full by reviewing written briefs and perhaps hearing oral arguments from the lawyers. If the Court denies the writ, it will be affirming the Eleventh Circuit’s decision holding Title VII does not protect against sexual-orientation discrimination. Interestingly, if the Court denies the writ, it will create a peculiar situation where one Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that Title VII does address sexual-orientation discrimination, but another Circuit Court has ruled that Title VII does not. In other words, two Circuit Courts of Appeal will have reached opposite and contradictory conclusions.

This fact alone almost guarantees that the Supreme Court will address the issue in full.

Items on this web page are general in nature. They cannot—and should not—replace consultation with a competent legal professional. Nothing on this web page should be considered rendering legal advice.

© 2017


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