The United States Supreme Court announced today that it will hear three significant sex discrimination cases regarding Title VII’s coverage of sexual orientation and transgender status discrimination during the High Court’s next term. Altitude Express v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton Cty, will consider Title VII’s coverage of sexual orientation discrimination. In the third case granted today, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, the court will answer whether Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender people based on their transgender status or sex stereotype.
In Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., the United States Second Circuit Court of Appeals found that employees may bring discrimination claims on the basis of sexual orientation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, Bostock v. Clayton Cnty. presents a related question on whether sexual orientation discrimination is covered under Title VII. The two cases will be consolidated for one hour of oral argument.
In R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC, 6th Circuit Court of Appeals No. 16-2424, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that discrimination based on an employee’s transgender status is discrimination based on “sex” in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
The decision to hear these cases falls right on the heels of the introduction of a bill to amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes. We will continue to follow these cases as they are heard by the Supreme Court and update our audience accordingly.