Bostock v. Clayton County, GA

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Civil Rights § 1983
  • Date Filed: April 22, 2019
  • Case #: 17-1618
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: 723 Fed. Appx. 964 (11th Cir. 2018); 883 F.3d 100 (2nd Cir. 2018) (en banc)
  • Full Text Opinion

Whether discrimination against an employee because of sexual orientation constitutes prohibited employment discrimination “because of . . . sex” within the meaning of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2.

This matter is a consolidation of two cases in which employees (Petitioner in one case, Respondent in the other) were fired and subsequently filed suits against their employers under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2, alleging that they were wrongfully discriminated against based on their sexual orientation and gender stereotyping. The district courts dismissed the cases, stating that Title VII does not encompass discrimination based on sexual orientation and that the employees failed to make a prima facie case for discrimination based on gender. The Eleventh Circuit affirmed, but the Second Circuit in a rehearing en banc, vacated and remanded, concluding that “sexual orientation discrimination is motivated, at least in part, by sex.” The Second Circuit’s decision is consistent with Seventh Circuit precedent and a decision by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) decision in Baldwin v. Foxx, EEOC Decision No. 0120133080, 2015 WL 4397641 (July 15, 2015). Petitioner for employer argues that the reading of Title VII as encompassing sex is unnatural and inconsistent with relevant precedent. Petitioner for employee argues that Title VII prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and that discrimination on this basis is “unjust” and “must end.” Both Petitioners argue that this issue needs to be resolved as there is not only a circuit split, but a split between federal agencies (EEOC and the U.S. Department of Justice).

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