Construction Law

Supreme Court Rules Employers Cannot Discriminate Against LGBTQ Employees featured image

Supreme Court Rules Employers Cannot Discriminate Against LGBTQ Employees

In a 6-3 ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protects gay, lesbian, and transgender employees from workplace discrimination. “Today, we must decide whether an employer can fire someone simply for being homosexual or transgender. The answer is clear,” said Justice Neil Gorsuch. This is a landmark decision that will protect employees regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. But how will this affect the construction industry? Federally funded contractors were already prohibited from discriminating on the basis of LGBTQ status. 

Below, we discuss the Supreme Court’s decision and how construction employers can continue to abide by the Civil Rights Act. For assistance complying with federal law and updating your equal employment policies, consult the Orlando construction lawyers at Cotney Attorneys & Consultants. 

Related: 5 Essential Policies for Your Employee Handbook

Title VII’s Prohibition of Discrimination Based on Sex 

In the three cases brought before the Supreme Court, the issue was whether or not Title VII prohibition of “employment discrimination based on … sex …“ applies to sexual orientation or transgender status. The court ruled that it is impossible to discriminate against a person for their sexual orientation or transgender status without also discriminating based on sex. Bottom line: your company cannot discriminate against employees based on their race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, including sexual orientation or gender identity. Only companies with fifteen or fewer employees are exempt from Title VII. 

Related: 4 Questions That Help You Decide If Your Employee Handbook Is Outdated

Florida is one of over two dozen states without statewide laws banning discrimination based on gender, meaning that now is the time to reevaluate how your company’s employment policies and employee handbook addresses discrimination. Specifically, they should contain an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) statement stating that it is your company’s policy to not deny equal opportunity based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or any other non-merit based factor. Once you have a policy in place, ensure that everyone within your company has reviewed it. Finally, you should do everything you can to foster an inclusive work environment. You can do this, in part, by providing employees with anti-discrimination and harassment training. 

Assistance Complying With Federal Law

Protections for LGBTQ employees have expanded from fewer than half the states to all employees across the United States, including those in Florida. At Cotney Attorneys & Consultants, we understand that, despite your best efforts, it may be difficult to keep up with the shifting rules and regulations that affect the construction industry. For this reason, we urge you to consult an Orlando construction lawyer with our law firm if you have any questions regarding what you’ve read in this article. Our attorneys can draft and review employee handbooks and ensure that your employment practices are compliant with state and federal law. 

If you would like to speak with one of our Orlando construction lawyers, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.