The administration argued that federal law allows firing workers for “being transgender”.
The Trump administration official hit a new low on homosexual discrimination earlier this week. It asked the Supreme Court to declare that federal law allows private companies to fire workers if they’re homosexual.
An amicus brief filed by the Justice Department displayed two cases involving homosexual workers and what is meant by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of ’64 – which bans discrimination “just because of gender “. The administration argued courts to stop reading the civil rights law to protect homosexual, lesbian and bisexual workers from prejudice because it was not intended to do so at the beginning.
That view conflicts with a couple of lower court rulings that ruled targeting someone for their sexual orientation to be an illegal form of both sexual discrimination and stereotyping – under Title VII. The said courts have found that a homosexual man wouldn’t be targeted if he were in a heterosexual relationship – thus he faced discrimination purely because of his sexual orientation.
But, the administration said in its brief Friday that Title VII’s ban on sexual discrimination only prevents uneven treatment between “biological sexes”, in which the Justice Department said that companies should be able to fire people for being transgender as well.
Though Congress didn’t explicitly say that the meaning of gender in Title VII targets LGBTQ people, the law can’t apply to sexual orientation. A couple of Federal lawyers are asking the Supreme Court – for the first time – to limit the Civil Rights Act’s protection to exclude LGBTQ people.
“Title VII’s prohibition on discrimination because of gender does not bar discrimination because of sexual orientation,” said the Justice Department’s brief.
“The ordinary meaning of ‘gender ’ is biologically male or female; it does not include sexual orientation,” the filing continued. “An employer thus discriminates ‘because of … gender ’ under Title VII if it treats members of one gender worse than similarly situated members of the other gender . Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, standing alone, does not satisfy that standard.”
The Justice Department also said that Congress only intended to ban discrimination because someone is male or female – claiming that sexes cannot be treated differently – an that other laws acknowledging LGBTQ people to show Congress could have changed Title VII to include their rights but chose not to. Additionally, the administration claimed that interpreting the word “gender ” more broadly completely rewrites the law, and only Congress alone to have that license.
A Supreme Court ruling in the government’s favor might trigger cascading consequences for LGBTQ rights.
Limiting the scope of Title VII would asset that a raft of state and federal laws banning gender-based discrimination have no application for sexual orientation at all. A ruling like this would likely reach beyond employment to other settings where gender discrimination is banned, which also includes public schools.
Currently, no federal law explicitly bans LGBTQ discrimination in workplaces. A couple of LGTBQ individual has successfully invoked Title VII in some lower courts, while the other courts have reached the complete opposition conclusion.
It appeared so that the high court will eventually hear a case on the scope of Title VII for LGBTQ people to resolve conflicts.
The Justice Department’s brief argued that gender discrimination can’t be created broadly to include LGBTQ workers because it’s legal for gender-segregated rules to exist – like restrooms and dress codes. Instead, the government claims that gender discrimination happens only when similarly situated individuals are treated differently – not comparing their sexual orientation.
“The correct comparison is between a female employee in a same-gender relationship and a male employee in a same-gender relationship; they would be similarly situated—and they would be treated the same,” said the brief.
One of the homosexual rights cases currently at issue before the Supreme Court, in which Bostock said he was fired by the county for being homosexual. His case had been dismissed by lower courts immediately.
His case connected with one filed by Donald Zarda, who is known to have sued his employer, Altitude Express – claiming the company ended his contract based on his sexual orientation. With assistance from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a federal agency that handles civil rights disputes 0 he prevailed at the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals.
“A woman that is subject to an unfavorable employment action because she is attracted to the same gender would have been treated very differently if she had been a man attracted to a woman” – the majority wrote last year. “We can conclude that sexual orientation is a crucial function of gender – and by extension, sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of gender discrimination”.
By saying those cases do not apply, the administration claimed on Friday that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is not an illegal form of gender stereotyping or associational discrimination.
“An employer who discriminates against employees in same-gender relationships thus does not violate Title VII as long as it treats men in same-gender relationships the same as women in same-gender relationships.”