Two of the cases—Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and Altitude Express Inc v. Zarda—address sexual orientation, and the third case, Harris Funeral Homes v. Stephens, addresses gender identity. These cases present the question of whether sexual orientation and/or gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination prohibited by Title VII.
An estimated 8.1 million LGBT workers age 16 and older (7.1 million LGB and 1 million transgender people) live in the United States. About half of these workers—4.1 million people—live in states without statutory protections against sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in employment. These cases will also impact federal civil rights protections in housing, education, health care, credit, and other settings.
The briefs, written by Williams Institute scholars and attorneys from the law firm Sidley Austin, marshal social science and legal research to illustrate LGBT people’s need for legal protections and the devastating effects when LGBT people are subject to employment discrimination. The briefs were joined by 88 scholars of demographics, economics, law, medicine, psychology, political science, public health, public policy, and other disciplines.