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Supreme Court Could Extend Title VII Protection to Employees Terminated for Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

US Supreme Court
Expanded Title VII Protections Under the Law, Supreme Court Could Extend Title VII Protection to Employees Terminated for Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity

On October 8, 2019, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in three cases that could reshape the landscape of protections provided by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII provides protection against employment discrimination based upon race, color, religion, sex and national origin. Historically, the term “sex” as used in the statute has been interpreted to protect individuals from discrimination on the basis of gender, but this has not been extended to provide federal protection to transgender individuals, nor has the term been applied to grant protection on the basis of an individual’s sexual orientation. There have been cases in which the Circuit Courts of Appeal have held that the protection afforded by Title VII extends to gender identity or sexual orientation, however these instances are limited, and often address only one category or the other, leaving substantial ambiguity and making this issue ripe for the Supreme Court.

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