The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday
announced it would hear three cases related to LGBT employment
Two of the cases – Zarda v.
Altitude Express and Bostock v. Clayton County – seek
clarification on whether sexual orientation is covered under Title
VII. The third case, Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, involves a
Agreeing to hear the cases in April
means that the court will not rule on the cases until June of next
All three plaintiffs argue that Title
VII prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sex
discrimination. Two federal circuit courts, the second and seventh,
have affirmed that sexual orientation discrimination is unlawful
under Title VII, but the Eleventh Circuit recently rejected the idea.
Eight federal appeals courts and 35 federal district courts have
affirmed that gender identity is covered under Title VII, according
to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
The cases are moving to the Supreme
Court as the U.S. House considers passage of the Equality Act, which
would prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual
orientation and gender identity.
While the Department of Justice has
argued in court that Title VII does not prohibit LGBT workplace
discrimination, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
has argued the opposite. What role, if any, the EEOC will play in the
cases as they move to the Supreme Court is unknown.