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 (https://www.dol.gov/ofccp/LGBT.html).
Further guidance from OSHA is online at https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3795.pdf.
The latest EEOC guidance for covered employers is online at https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/newsroom/wysk/enforcement_protections_lgbt_workers.cfm.
More information from the federal government is on the U.S. Department of Labor's website at https://www.dol.gov/asp/policy-development/lgbt-workers.htm.
1. Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/supreme-court/supreme-court-rules-existing-civil-rights-law-protects-gay-lesbian-n1231018