On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court ruled that, under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, LGBTQ workers could not be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. While many California workers are celebrating the ruling, it is important to note that the ruling still leaves gaps in protections for many LGBTQ workers.
As the ruling involved a federal law, the ruling does not protect those who work for small businesses of fewer than 15 people. While some states, like California, extend the protections to some small businesses, not all states do. Additionally, the ruling does not address bathrooms for those who are transgender. Finally, it is unclear if LGBTQ workers can still be terminated based on their religious affiliations.
One major issue that many LGBTQ workers experience is healthcare issues. Employers with more than 15 workers may not be able to discriminate against employees for their sexual orientation or gender identity, but they do choose the healthcare providers that they work with, and the health plans they choose to provide may be discriminatory in nature. The insurance plans that are provided through the workplace may not cover specific health needs of transgender workers, such as hormone therapies. Further, some healthcare plans may not provide access to fertility treatments for same-sex couples.
Employees deserve to feel safe and secure at their workplace, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender orientation. Even though their are federal protections for employees, some employers may attempt to continue to discriminate against LGBTQ employees. If an LGBTQ worker believes he or she is being discriminated against due to his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, an employment law-employees attorney may investigate the employer for patterns of discrimination. If it is determined that the employer did discriminate against an employee for his or her sexual orientation or gender identity, the attorney may litigate.