Supreme Court to Decide Cases on LGBTQ+ Employment Rights

Blake Carnes, Editor

On October 8, 2019, the Supreme Court heard three cases to determine if being LGBTQ+ is a fireable offense. Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clayton County, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, two about firings of gay men and one about the firing of a transgender woman, each examine whether the Civil Right’s Act prohibition of discrimination on the basis of sex includes sexual orientation and gender identity. Should the judges rule in favor of Altitude Express Inc, Clayton County, or R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Title VII would be interpreted to not include either of the above, allowing employers to fire employees for being LGBTQ+. Zara Khan, ‘23, said, “It’s kind of shocking, honestly. It’s a little sad, because you don’t want to have to worry about how you’ll get a job because you’re trans or because of who you love.” Taylor Sellers-Varela, ‘22, added, “I feel like it’s outrageous for it to be an issue but of course there will always be people who hate people who are different just because they’re different.”

The oral arguments were heard on October 8, but the verdict has not yet been delivered. The wait has been tense. “I honestly feel really scared,” said Sellers-Varela. “With the way things are going I’m terrified that it will be decided that people like me could get fired just for being themselves.” The Supreme Court is not expected to issue opinions on the case for several months.

The current Supreme Court. (Photo credit Fred Schilling)