News that the Supreme Court of the United States would hear several important LGBT cases in the upcoming term has dominated the headlines over the past few days. While the cases deal with Title VII, not Title IX, they could still have a serious impact on how sexual misconduct allegations are handled in the college setting.
Supreme Court Takes Up Title VII Discrimination Cases
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear three cases, which it will consolidate. The cases are:
- Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda
- Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia
- R.G & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. v. EEOC
The first two cases deal with plaintiffs who were fired from their jobs because they came out as gay. The third involves a plaintiff who was fired from a job at a private company because they came out as transgender.
All of the claims involve Title VII, which prohibits sexual discrimination in the workplace.
How the Cases Can Impact Title IX
Simply put, Title IX and Title VII are very similar laws. Each prohibits sexual discrimination, though Title VII also prohibits other forms of discrimination, as well. The main difference between the two is that while Title IX focuses on schools and higher education, Title VII focuses on the workplace.
The important part, though, is that both laws prohibit discrimination “on the basis of sex.” The Supreme Court's decision to hear these three Title VII cases makes it clear that it intends to resolve the pressing question of whether that prohibition also includes sexual orientation and gender identity.
Should the Supreme Court decide that Title VII's prohibition against sexual discrimination in the workplace was not meant to include orientation or gender identity, it would be a strong indication that Title IX's similar prohibition does not include LGBTQ discrimination, either.
However, if the Supreme Court decides that sexual orientation and gender identity are included in sexual discrimination, then it would solidify an interpretation of Title IX law that has been made shaky with the change of parties in the presidency.
Many advocates on both sides of the case, as well as scholars in discrimination law, have noted the timing of the decision to hear cases on this pointed issue. Many wonder whether the recent shift to the right in the Supreme Court signals the Court's intent to leave the LGBTQ community out of the purview of civil rights laws.
Title IX Defense Lawyer and Advisor Joseph D. Lento
Joseph D. Lento is a national Title IX advisor who represents and defends students accused of sexual misconduct in higher education. The resulting Title IX process is confusing, but also very important – a blemish on an accused student's transcript for sexual misconduct can prove difficult to overcome.
If you or your child has been accused of misconduct and are facing a Title IX investigation and hearing, reach out to attorney Lento by contacting him online or by calling his law office at (888) 535-3686 for the guidance you need at this difficult time.