SCOTUS Agrees to Hear Title VII Sexual Orientation Discrimination Case

On Monday, April 22, 2019, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in several cases – including Altitude Express, Inc. et al v. Zarda, Melissa, et al. (17-1623), which originated in the Second Circuit.

The Question Presented in the Zarda case, as set forth in that case’s certiorari petition (which I wrote about here) is:

Whether the prohibition in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), against employment discrimination “because of … sex” encompasses discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation.

The Court also granted the certiorari petition in R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC et al, as limited to the following question:

Whether Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender people based on (1) their status as transgender or (2) sex stereotyping under Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U. S. 228 (1989).

While the issue of whether federal law (Title VII) prohibits discrimination because of sexual orientation and/or transgender status is of unquestionable importance, it should be noted that both the New York State Human Rights Law and the New York City Human Rights Law each specifically prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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