Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964:U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Title VII’s Prohibition of Discrimination “Because of . . . Sex” Outlaws Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - June 16, 2020
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On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court held that Title VII’s prohibition on employment discrimination “because of . . . sex” forbids employers from firing employees “simply for being homosexual or transgender.”   In the Court’s opinion, written by Justice Gorsuch for a 6-3 majority, the Court explained that “[an] 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.”  As a result of the decision, employers subject to Title VII’s anti-discrimination provisions will be subject to liability if they make employment decisions “because of” an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.