Gender Stereotyping Case Makes its Way to the Supreme Court

In 1989, the Supreme Court reached a decision in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, which established that employees are protected under Title VII from being discriminated against based on their sex. According to the ruling:

We are beyond the day when an employer could evaluate employees by assuming or insisting that they matched the stereotype associated with their group, for ‘[i]n forbidding employers to discriminate against individuals because of their sex, Congress intended to strike at the entire spectrum of disparate treatment of men and women resulting from sex stereotypes.”

The decision in Hopkins would later be interpreted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) to include protections for gay, lesbian, and transgender employees. In 2012, the EEOC reached the following decision in Macy v. Attorneys General:

“Intentional discrimination against a transgender individual because that person is transgender is, by definition, discrimination ‘based on…sex’ and such discrimination therefore violates Title VII.”

In 2015, the EEOC heard the case of Baldwin v. Secretary of Transportation and ruled that:

“Sexual orientation discrimination is sex discrimination because it necessarily entails treating an employee less favorably because of the employee’s sex.”

When it comes to transgender employees, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals concurs with the EEOC and ruled:

“A person is defined as transgender precisely because of the perception that his or her behavior transgresses gender stereotypes.”

Despite the cases listed above, the Supreme Court is currently hearing arguments for the Bostock v. Clayton City and Zarda v. Altitude Express to decide if discrimination against an employee because of sexual orientation constitutes prohibited employment discrimination “because of … sex” within the context of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

 The Supreme Court is also hearing arguments for Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC. This case will decide if Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender people based on protections established in Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins.

The current cases before the Supreme Court have major implications for gay, lesbian, and transgender, employees, which is why our lawyers at The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC will be keeping a close eye on the latest developments so we can keep you informed.

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Are you a federal employee who has faced discrimination or harassment at work because of your gender? If so, you should get in touch with our legal team to discuss your situation with a seasoned federal employment law firm. We can explain all of your options under the law and guide you through the entire legal process, so you can feel confident knowing your best interests are being represented by skilled legal professionals.

To schedule your appointment with a lawyer at The Law Firm of John P. Mahoney, Esq., Attorneys at Law, PLLC, call (202) 350-3881 today.