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ASK THE LAWYER: September 2012

Q: Can employers fire employees because of their sexual orientation?

A: In a recent 6 to 3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled in Bostock v. Clayton County that employers may not fire employees based merely on their identifying as gay or transgender.

This case is important for employers not only because it further restrains their ability to fire employees, but also because of the principals the court reiterated in reaching its holding.

For instance, the court explained that employers violate the law even if they fire an employee only partially because of the employee’s sex. This remains true, even if as a group, the employer treats both men and women equally.

For example, even assuming that an employer favors women as a class, if the employer fires a female employee based – at least partially – on the fact that the employee is a female, the employer still violates the law.

Moving forward, employers must now keep these same principles in mind regarding employees who identify as gay or transgender as well.

This article is for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. The information contained in this article does not create an attorney-client relationship between Karen McKeithen Schaede, Attorney at Law, PLLC, and the reader.