SUPREME COURT EXTENDS WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION PROTECTION TO LGBTQ COMMUNITY
Did you know Massachusetts was the second state to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation? Following the state of Wisconsin, Massachusetts amended its anti-discrimination statute to protect an individual’s sexual orientation in the public and private employment sector. In 2011, gender identity was also added to the list of anti-discrimination protections, at least for Massachusetts anyway.
Likewise, did you know that Massachusetts was the first state to recognize and perform same-sex marriages in 2004? The Supreme Court followed suit over ten years later in 2015 and legalized same-sex marriage across the country. Given these statistics, you shouldn’t be surprised to hear that Massachusetts has the second largest LGBTQ community, with Vermont ringing in with the biggest.
Although Massachusetts has long recognized LGBTQ rights and equality, nearly half of the states have failed to provide such protections. The Supreme Court, however, just recently decided to extend the Title VII federal anti-discrimination laws to include and protect LGBTQ people in the workplace, including protections for gender identity and sexual orientation (like Massachusetts had done years before). Prior to the recent decision, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act only prohibited discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, and national original, thus failing to protect such a substantial group of individuals. The prohibited sex discrimination was traditionally believed to protect women in the workplace. Now, however, according to the Court, the law is simple: “an employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”
The recent landmark decision now extends anti-discrimination protections to the LGBTQ community throughout the country, regardless of whether an individual state has previously granted those protections or not. The decision was long overdue, but is an incredible step toward equality for all.
If you have been the victim of workplace discrimination, call Levine-Piro Law, P.C. for a free phone consultation at 978-637-2048 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.