After Tuesday, it could technically be legal to discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace.
That’s why Laverne Cox wants people to sit up and take notice of the crucial Supreme Court hearing scheduled for October 8.
Currently, around half of LGBTQ people have protection from discrimination thanks to specific state laws, but no such protection exists on the federal level.
While Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on “race, color, religion, sex and national origin”, the “sex” part, for some, pertains to sexual orientation as well as gender identity. For others, however, it merely refers to the gender one was assigned at birth.
“One of the things I want everyone to be aware of is that on October 8, there is a case going to the Supreme Court that will ask whether Title 7, which bans discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, covers the LGBTQ+ community,” Laverne said. “This case has huge implications not just for the LGBTQ+ community, but for women’s rights in employment.”
On Tuesday, the nine Supreme Court judges will hear three cases which involve alleged workplace discrimination: Zarda v. Altitude Express, in which a skydiver claims he was fired after telling a customer he was gay; Bostock v. Clayton County in which a child welfare services worker said he was sacked after the city government found out he was gay; and Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC, in which a worker was let go after telling her employer her intention to transition.
The first two cases will be used to determine whether or not Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation; the last third will be used to determine whether or not it prohibits discrimination based on gender identity.
“Everyone should be aware that right now, there are people who oppose LGBTQ people being protected from discrimination in employment,” the “Orange Is The New Black” star said. “So everyone should be aware of that and presidential candidates should be talking about that.”
On the Emmy’s red carpet recently, Laverne carried a literal-statement rainbow colored clutch, which read “October 8th, Title XII Supreme Court.”
“They should be talking about the ban on transgender people in the military, they should be talking about the attempts by this administration to discriminate against us in housing and healthcare. Those are just a few things,” she continued.
Even Elizabeth Warren — who has been a strong vocal LGBTQ ally — Cox would like to see even more action from.
“Mentioning us is great, but what’re you going to do?”
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