Can someone be fired for being LGBT? Today, the Supreme Court justices are hearing three historic cases on LGBT equality. The three plaintiffs are: Gerald Bostock, Donald Zareda and Aimee Stephens, all fired from their jobs for gender identity and expression.
Although the cases will not have a decision until next year, most likely in June, the legal question today being considered boils down to the language of Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which bars discrimination because of “sex,” but doesn’t specifically mention sexual orientation or gender identity. In other words, does Title 7 apply to sexual orientation and gender identity?
Employers and the Trump Administration argue that lawmakers who voted for law didn’t intend such broad coverage and probably didn’t envision in 1964 the rights of transgender individuals. The LGBT workers contend that it’s impossible to discriminate against gay and transgender people without taking into account their sex.
The crux of the arguments are whether the LGBT community is entitled to have protection in the private sector from employment discrimination. Case in point, Gerald Bostock was fired from his job overseeing child welfare services in the juvenile court system for Clayton County, Georgia. When he was fired in 2013, he lost his friends, home and health insurance.
There is more at stake than his livelihood. How about his dignity?
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.