Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court handed down a ruling that prohibits employment discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While Title VII does not specifically address gender identity nor sexual orientation, the Court held that discrimination on these basis is discrimination based on sex. Specifically, Justice Neil Gorsuch’s majority opinion states when an employer fires an employee “for being homosexual or transgender,” that employer “fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”

Missouri, unlike other states, does not currently have a prohibition on adverse employment actions purely based on a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation. Yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling makes it very clear that employers, including school districts cannot discriminate against employees or prospective employees simply because they are gay, lesbian or transgendered. The Court’s decision was straightforward and crystal clear – discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is an absolute violation of federal law.

As always, if you have any questions regarding this Supreme Court decision, please contact the Legal Services Department at 866-343-6186 or legalservices@msta.org.