Today’s historic 6-3 Supreme Court decision affirms that firing someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity is a violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This ruling provides clarity and comfort for millions of LGBTQ working people in the United States who are not covered by anti-discrimination provisions in state and local laws or union collective bargaining agreements.
“For too long, LGBTQ working people have risked losing their jobs if they didn’t conform to their employer’s gender stereotypes,” said CWA President Chris Shelton. “Today’s Supreme Court decision finally recognizes that discrimination against LGBTQ people at work is just plain wrong. We at CWA celebrate this milestone and commit to continuing the fight for justice for all working people.”
While enforcing existing non-discrimination laws is important, work remains to be done to close gaps in federal law that allow discrimination in key areas including health care, education and housing. Last week’s decision by the Trump Administration to exclude LGBTQ people from the Affordable Care Act’s health care nondiscrimination protections illustrates the need for Congressional action.
Ensuring that workers have the freedom to join together in unions and collectively bargain contracts is also critical to strengthen protection for LGBTQ people. Union representation allows workers to negotiate strong non-discrimination protections and provides immediate recourse for workers who have been discriminated against. Inclusive collective bargaining agreements also give LGBTQ workers equal access to health care coverage.