The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down a landmark ruling that extends workplace protections to gay and transgender employees and job applications. Those workers can no longer be discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender expression.
Of course, here in New Jersey, gay, lesbian and transgender employees and job applicants already had those workplace protections. The recent court decision will have a much greater impact on states that previously did not acknowledge the rights of those workers and applicants. (Roughly half of the states had no protections in place.)
Back in 1991, New Jersey forbid workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and then in 2006 banned workplace discrimination on the basis of gender expression.
The new high court ruling will extend protections to workers who, for a variety of reasons, didn’t have protections in our state, including those who are employed by companies doing business in multiples states. Some of those firms use employment agreements from a state that did not protect LGBTQ workers.
It should be noted that those employees of multistate companies are still subject to the employment laws of the other jurisdiction. Of course, workplace discrimination against LGBTQ workers and applicants is now forbidden in all states.
It’s expected that the ruling will also impact defendant businesses in New Jersey employment litigation over LGBTQ matters and that had planned to introduce case law on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act from other states. Those types of defenses have likely ended.