July 3, 2019 — Amicus Brief

NCLC, with 56 other civil rights organizations, joined an amicus brief prepared by The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, filed in a trio of cases before the Supreme Court. These combined cases, which the Court will consider next term, examine whether employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity are covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The brief argues that outlawing job discrimination based on LGBTQ status is fully consistent with Title VII’s long history of anti-discrimination achievements, as well as the statutory text that has made those successes possible. Furthermore, if Title VII does not bar LGBTQ discrimination, that will leave many LGBTQ people of color vulnerable to workplace discrimination – an outcome contrary to Congress’ paramount goal of ensuring equal access to employment opportunities for minorities. Since there are nearly two million LGBTQ people of color in America’s workforce, they are far more likely to suffer discrimination than their white counterparts. We argue, therefore, if Title VII is not construed according to its plain text so that it covers LGBTQ discrimination, such discrimination would go unchecked by federal law, and biased employers would have a convenient pretext for discriminating against LGBTQ persons of color. It is thus impossible to carve out LGBTQ discrimination from Title VII’s ambit without inflicting severe harm on countless employees of color.