The U.S. Supreme Court last week said it would decide whether the main federal job-discrimination law protects workers based on sexual orientation or gender identity, an issue that is significant not only for school employment but also for whether a related federal law protects students on the same basis.
The justices granted review in two consolidated cases that raise the question of whether the prohibition against sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 encompasses sexual orientation. The two federal appeals courts that ruled in those cases came down on different sides of whether Title VII covers sexual orientation, but the trend has been to recognize that the federal law covers bias involving sexual orientation or gender identity.
The court also granted review in a third case in which the justices refashioned the question presented as this: “Whether Title VII prohibits discrimination against transgender people based on (1) their status as transgender or (2) sex stereotyping.
The transgender case may be particularly relevant for the widespread legal debate involving whether transgender students are protected under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which bars discrimination “based on sex” in federally funded schools.
A version of this article appeared in the May 01, 2019 edition of Education Week as U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases Involving Sexual Orientation