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Hundreds of companies urge Supreme Court to protect LGBTQ workers

Over 200 American corporations, including California-based Apple, Google and Walt Disney, have joined the court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender employees from workplace discrimination. The brief was submitted by a group of five LGBTQ rights groups on July 2 in preparation for oral arguments on three discrimination cases scheduled to go before the high court on Oct. 8.

During the Obama administration, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission concluded that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protected LGBTQ workers from discrimination. However, under the Trump administration, the Justice Department has argued that Title VII offers no such protections. So far, federal appeals courts in Cincinnati, Chicago and New York have ruled that federal law does indeed shield employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. However, an Atlanta federal appeals court ruled in reverse. The Supreme Court is being asked to settle the matter.

The companies that added their names to the brief supporting LGBTQ protections include Amazon, American Airlines, Bank of America, Ben & Jerry's, IBM, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks, Viacom and Xerox. Baseball teams the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays also joined the brief. The brief argues that company anti-discrimination policies and inconsistent state and local laws do not provide adequate protections for LGBTQ workers. As a result, it is urging the Supreme Court to rule in favor of federal anti-discrimination protections.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals who experience workplace discrimination may have grounds to file a lawsuit against their employer. An employment attorney may evaluate the claim, help build a strong case and file a lawsuit on a client's behalf. This might result in a settlement that covers lost pay, lost benefits, mental distress and other damages.

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