LGBT employees in Pennsylvania can rest easier knowing that they are protected from discrimination on the job based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. In a major Supreme Court decision, the justices decided that these workers are a protected class at work. It is now a violation of federal law to fire someone because they are a member of the LGBT community.
Surprisingly, the decision was written by Justice Neil Gorsuch, one of the more conservative members of the Court. His decision was based on the fact that the statute used the word “sex.” According to the Court, this word not only prohibits gender-based discrimination, but it also prohibits firing someone based on who they choose to have sex with or how they identify in terms of gender. All of these would be impermissible decisions that are based on sex. While the decision is not one cheered by conservatives, it still relied on a judicial approach favored by conservatives, namely the strict interpretation of the exact words of the statute and nothing else.
Many states already have laws on the books that prohibit this type of discrimination. Now, the Supreme Court has made it a federally protected right. In dissent, Justice Brett Kavanaugh argued that a change like this should have been something part of a law passed by Congress as opposed to being mandated in a judicial decision.
Now, LGBT workers have the same rights on the job as any other protected class. If they are discriminated against, they can file a lawsuit against their employer seeking damages. If they have been fired, they may now challenge their termination in court if they believe that it was based on their sexual orientation. It may be wise to consult with a workplace discrimination attorney before filing such a lawsuit.