History Is Still in the Making
June is LGBTQ pride month. In 2016, 1 in 4 LGBT people reported experiencing discrimination, according to the Center for American Progress. That’s an alarming statistic considering pride month has existed for numerous years. The Library of Congress recognizes this month as one that “ … commemorates the events of June 1969 and works to achieve equal justice and equal opportunity for LGBTQ Americans.” Since its establishment in 1999, pride month raised national awareness about the injustice LGBTQ individuals experience.
Whether it be from employers, teachers, peers or general members of the public, LGBTQ people suffered years of discrimination and hate, and continue to fight for full equality under the law today. Thus, it’s important to understand what happened in June 1969 and how it led to the establishment of pride month, and learn how those events impact American employees today.
1969 Stonewall Riots
On June 28, 1969, police raided a gay club called the Stonewall Inn. Back then, the police usually raided gay bars and clubs, and could arrest these people for displaying affection in public. Only three years earlier (in 1966), places that served liquor to gay people were shut down because gatherings of homosexual people were deemed “disorderly.” However, this particular night at the Stonewall Inn was different. Patrons and residents stood up to the police and rioted against the discriminatory actions. While officers were dragging Stonewall Inn employees and customers out of the bar, countless riots occurred in response.
For six days, protests and violence erupted, serving as a catalyst to fight for LGBT rights nationwide. While LGBT people have fought for their rights prior to 1969, the Stonewall Riots amplified the cause to another level, allowing the nation to wake up and listen to this oppressed group. Today, there’s still a lot of work that must be done to ensure LGBT individuals enjoy equal protection under the law.
When it comes to LGBT rights in the workplace, progress is in the making.
Supreme Court Ruling Bans Sex Discrimination Against LGBT Employees
A recent Supreme Court ruling favored protecting LGBT employees from sex discrimination in the workplace. You may be surprised to learn that federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination did not extend to LGBT employees until June 15, 2020. The Supreme Court reviewed a few cases involving employees getting terminated for their gender identity and sexual orientation, resulting in a 6-3 opinion in favor of protecting LGBT workers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This federal law specifically prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.
This is a huge victory for the LGBT community, but we must not forget that employers and employees may not comply with this ruling and continue discriminatory practices against LGBT people. Thus, it’s important to take legal action if you or someone you know is the victim of sex discrimination in the workplace.
Protecting LGBT Employees from Sex Discrimination
Workplace discrimination based on sex can come in various forms, all of which are illegal. Now more than ever, you must hold yourself, your peers and your management accountable for protecting LGBT employees from illegal discrimination based on sex. It’s the right thing to do and required by law now, so be aware of protecting yourself and your co-workers from sex discrimination. If you experience or witness a violation of any employment law, including sex discrimination, let us know.
The employment lawyers at Gerash Steiner & Blanton, P.C. are ready to advocate for your legal rights and best interests. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, we have what it takes to help you seek justice and prevent further unlawful acts of workplace discrimination. Schedule your free case evaluation online or by calling (303) 732-5048 today!