Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination
Sexual orientation discrimination was not formally recognized as a legally protected basis of employment discrimination until recently. In 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Bostock v. Clayton County that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity is necessarily also discrimination "because of sex," which is prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (known as Title VII). Prior to this decision, some lower courts had recognized sexual orientation or gender identity as sex discrimination, but it was not until Bostock that it was formally recognized as the law of the land.
An employer is not permitted to fire, not hire, or demote an individual because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This includes an employer's use of stereotypes or assumptions about an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, regardless of whether it is true of the particular individual.
As with other forms of employment discrimination, these claims require the individual to prove that they were treated unfavorably because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This can be done using negative remarks or comments that relate to the person's sexual orientation or identity, or through showing a difference in treatment when compared with others of different sexual orientation or gender identity.