If you are an LGBTQ person, you have likely suffered harassment and discrimination at some point. It may well have happened in your workplace. For many years, some employers have felt free to discriminate against LGBTQ employees because the law did not specifically mention it was forbidden.
Discrimination based on sex has been illegal since 1964, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. However, there was always some uncertainty as to what “sex” actually included and how that rule did (or did not) apply to members of the LGBTQ community.
In 2017 the Department of Justice claimed that the law did not apply to gay and transgender people. However, in June 2020, the Supreme Court ruled, “It is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”
If you suffer sexual discrimination at work, you can report it to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEO). However, you may fear retaliation by your employer. Retaliation can take many forms: Physical, mental, or emotional abuse, hurting you financially or making it harder for you to continue in your workplace. Under Title VII, retaliation is illegal.
The new ruling should make it easier for LGBTQ people to challenge workplace discrimination or retaliation. Yet, as with any discrimination cases, it is never easy. For instance, if your employer refuses to promote you because you are transgender, they are unlikely to admit it. They will try to claim it was for another reason, such as your performance. The more that people challenge employers who discriminate against LGBTQ people, the fewer will attempt it.