200 businesses sign brief to extend job discrimination laws to LGBTQ people

Participants from Amazon march along Market Street in the annual LGBTQ pride parade in San Francisco. On Tuesday, 206 companies including Amazon signed an amicus brief calling for an extension of job discrimination laws to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI

July 3 (UPI) — More than 200 U.S. and international companies signed an amicus brief Tuesday calling on the Supreme Court to include sexual orientation and gender identity in federal civil rights law.

The 206 businesses, which collectively employ more than 7 million employees and comprise more than $5 trillion in revenue, stated that excluding sexual orientation and gender identity from the United States’ job discrimination laws “would undermine the nation’s business interests.”

“These businesses — which range across a wide variety of industries (and some of which are even competitors — share a common interest in equality because they know that ending discrimination in the workplace is good for business, employees and the U.S. economy as a whole.”

Among the companies that signed the bill are Airbnb, Amazon, American Airlines, Apple, Bayer, Bank of America, Best Buy, Domino’s, Facebook, GM, Google, Hilton, IBM, JP Morgan Chase, Mariott, Macy’s, Morgan Stanley and Nike.

Several LGBTQ rights groups filed the brief, which states LGBTQ people should be granted the equal opportunity to “earn a living, excel in their professions and provide for their families free from fear of unequal treatment.”

The brief was filed ahead of three civil rights cases the Supreme Court will hear upon returning in October.

The cases involve a New York skydiving instructor and a Georgia county government employee who said they were fired for being gay and a Michigan transgender woman who said she was fired from the funeral home where she worked after transitioning.

Lower courts ruled in favor of two of the cases, but ruled against the Georgia man, prompting a Supreme Court review.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination based on sex, race, color, national origin and religion, but doesn’t include protections for sexual orientation and gender identity.

Some states have passed their own laws prohibiting such discrimination, but 26 states allow businesses to fire a person solely due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the LGBTQ employees, such discrimination will become illegal under civil rights law.


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