I’m Jamie Gilmore, an employment attorney with Bailey & Galyen. Most Texans are familiar with the employment concept that Texas is a “right to work” or “at will” state. This basically means that an employer can terminate or demote you for any reason or not reason at all so long as that reason is not an illegal one. This is where most employees become confused. What exactly is an illegal reason for termination?
There are several anti-discrimination laws in both state and federal laws. There are even some anti-discrimination laws at the city level in Texas. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Texas Labor Code Chapter 21 protects employees against employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin. There are other laws that protect employees against discrimination on the basis of disability and age.
However, today I want to talk to you about a specific kind of discrimination and the United States Supreme Court’s most recent decision on Title VII. On Monday, June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court held that an employer violates Title VII when it discriminates against an employee simply for being homosexual or transgender. “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
Prior to this decision, the appellate courts were split on whether Title VII included homosexual and transgender employees. Because of this split, many employment attorneys were holding off filing Charges of Discrimination with the EEOC. Now we know the law regarding Title VII, and I am excited to continue representing LGBTQIA employees who are victims of illegal discrimination in the workplace.
I recognize that this narrow side of sex or gender discrimination does not affect most of my clients, but for many employees who have been discriminated against in the workplace because of the sexual orientation or identity, this case is huge.
The labor and employment section of Bailey & Galyen is eager to help you navigate through any discrimination occurring at the workplace. At Bailey & Galyen, we offer a free consultation with experienced employment attorneys and staff to give you a legal assessment and offer a path forward. Call me to discuss your employment situation today.