The Supremes Are Back!

By Kathleen J. Jennings (

It’s the first Monday in October, and that means that the U.S. Supreme Court starts a new term. One of the major issues before the court involves the question of whether gay and transgender employees are protected from workplace discrimination by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended. In fact, three cases (two of them out of Georgia) will be argued before the Court on Tuesday of this week. Two of the cases, Altitude Express v. Zarda and Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, deal with the issue of whether sexual orientation is protected by Title VII, and the third case, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Home v. EEOC, deals with the issue of whether gender identity is protected by Title VII.

Most observers predict that a majority of the current conservative majority Supreme Court will rule that sexual orientation and gender identity are not protected by Title VII. However, keep in mind that even if such discrimination is not prohibited by federal law, it may be prohibited by state law; 20 states and Washington, D.C. currently have laws in effect that ban employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, federal executive orders also ban federal agencies and contractors from discriminating against LGBT workers.

We’ll provide an update when the Supreme Court issues its decisions.

Kathleen Jennings, Principal is a principal in the Atlanta office of Wimberly, Lawson, Steckel, Schneider, & Stine, P.C. She defends employers in employment matters, such as sexual harassment, discrimination, Wage and Hour, OSHA, restrictive covenants, and other employment litigation and provides training and counseling to employers in employment matters. She can be contacted at

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