Gender identity protections good for the economy, companies tell SCOTUS

Washington D.C., Jul 2, 2019 / 01:00 pm (CNA).- More than 200 businesses have asked the Supreme Court to recognize anti-discrimination protections on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation as good for business and the economy.

The companies filed a joint amicus brief with the Supreme Court this week, after the court announced it would hear oral argumentation in the next judicial year, in October.

“The U.S. economy is strengthened when all employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” 206 businesses argued in their “friend of the court” brief in a bundle of three employment discrimination cases that will be heard before the Supreme Court this October in oral arguments.

The question before the Court will be whether protections against sex discrimination in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also include discrimination on basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, or discrimination against transgender people.

“The failure to recognize that Title VII protects LGBT workers would hinder the ability of businesses to compete in all corners of the nation, and would harm the U.S. economy as a whole,” the first section of the brief stated.

The filing comes at the end of  “Pride Month,” during which many cities and corporations mark the campaign of LGBT advocacy. On June 10, the Vatican’s Congregation for Catholic Education released a document which included a sweeping denunciation of so-called gender theory and the “radical separation between gender and sex, with the former having priority over the later.”

“In all such [gender] theories, from the most moderate to the most radical, there is agreement that one’s gender ends up being viewed as more important than being of male or female sex,” the Congregation for Catholic Education wrote in the document entitled “Male and Female He Created Them.”

“The effect of this move is chiefly to create a cultural and ideological revolution driven by relativism, and secondarily a juridical revolution, since such beliefs claim specific rights for the individual and across society.”

The 206 businesses who filed the amicus brief “collectively employ over 7 million employees, and comprise over $5 trillion in revenue,”according to their court submission, and they argue “that no one should be passed over for a job, paid less, fired, or subjected to harassment or any other form of discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The amici curiae include employers from various sectors, such as communications, financial, technological, food and hospitality industries; the list of employers includes big businesses such as Airbnb, Amazon, American Airlines, American Express, Apple, AT&T, Bank of America, Ben & Jerry’s, Bloomberg L.P., Coca-Cola, Comcast NBC Universal, CVS Health, Domino’s, eBay, Facebook, General Motors, Google, LinkedIn, IBM, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Lyft, Macy’s, Marriott International, Mastercard International Inc., NIKE, Southwest Airlines, Starbucks, Uber, and Univision Services Inc.

The San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays of Major League Baseball also signed on to the brief.

“The brief has more corporate signers than any previous business brief in an LGBTQ non-discrimination case,” the Human Rights Campaign said in a blog post.

The brief argues that specific employment protections for people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, are “not unreasonably costly or burdensome for business” and that uniform federal protections are needed so that businesses can “benefit” from “consistency.”

To lack such protections across-the-board, they argued, would pose “significant costs for employers and employees.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act expressly forbids employment discrimination on basis of race, color, religion, national origin, and sex; three cases that are to be argued before the Supreme Court in October are all related to whether this prohibition of sex discrimination includes protections against employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

The cases are Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia; Altitude Express v. Zarda; and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

 

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