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You Can’t Fire Employees For Being LGBTQ, Supreme Court Rules

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 should be read to cover sexual orientation as well, according to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued June 15. The ruling, a 6-3 decision, means the federal civil rights law prohibits workplace discrimination against LGBTQ workers.

Describing the Supreme Court’s majority opinion today, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote:

“In Title VII, Congress adopted broad language making it illegal for an employer to rely on an employee’s sex when deciding to fire that employee. We do not hesitate to recognize today a necessary consequence of that legislative choice: An employer who fires an individual merely for being gay or transgender defies the law.”

The 1964 act / Title VII outlaw workplace discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.

Congress hasn’t explicitly moved to outlaw workplace discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity, The Wall Street Journal notes. While many states have taken that step, more than half the states haven’t, the report adds.

Apple CEO Tim Cook praised today’s Supreme Court ruling in a tweet, stating:

“Grateful for today’s decision by the Supreme Court. LGBTQ people deserve equal treatment in the workplace and throughout society, and today’s decision further underlines that federal law protects their right to fairness.”

Cook in 2015 wrote an essay about being gay. The essay appeared in Bloomberg Businessweek.

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