The June 15, 2020 U.S. Supreme Court decision says Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person's sex, also covers sexual orientation.

In a 6-3 ruling, the Court determined that existing federal law forbids job discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a major victory for advocates of gay rights — and a surprising one from an increasingly conservative court.

The decision said Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which makes it illegal for employers to discriminate because of a person's sex, among other factors, also covers sexual orientation. This upholds rulings from lower courts that said sexual orientation discrimination was a form of sex discrimination.

Across the nation, 21 states have their own laws prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Seven more provide that protection only to public employees. Those laws remain in force, but Monday's ruling clarifies that federal law provides similar protection for LGBTQ employees across the country.1


LGBTQ Law in Texas

Texas state law (Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code) does not have any provision directly addressing these issues. However, since most Texas employers are also covered by federal employment laws, it is important to be aware of how federal agencies are interpreting the statutes they enforce.

Some Texas cities have adopted local ordinances regarding LGBTQ discrimination in private employment (e.g. Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Plano, San Antonio ).


Federal Agency Rulings and Guidance

The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has issued new requirements for employers working on federal contracts (

Further guidance from OSHA is online at

The latest EEOC guidance for covered employers is online at

More information from the federal government is on the U.S. Department of Labor's website at


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By Published On: June 15, 2020Categories: Employment LawTags:


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Casey Erick is a Shareholder and focuses on Commercial Litigation and Employment Law. He has represented clients in both litigation and transactional matters that span across commercial law, labor and employment, real estate, consumer protection, and general litigation including, but not limited to breach of contract, corporate trade secret theft, tortious interference, defamation, personal injury, fraud, and various other kinds of civil litigation. He has represented high-profile clients as well as defended against high-profile national and global entities in matters related to commercial litigation, defamation, privacy, negligence, the Stored Communications Act, the Texas Harmful Access by Computer Act, Texas identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. Casey is Board Certified in Civil Trial Law.