In a landmark employment discrimination case, the US Supreme Court held that discrimination on the basis of person’s sexual orientation or gender identity violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibition on sex discrimination in the workplace.
In the majority opinion authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, the court found an employee’s sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision to terminate an employee because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. That decision by the employer he said is “exactly what Title VII forbids.”
This decree from the US Supreme Court means employers violate federal workplace discrimination law if they treat employees differently solely due to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
However, there currently is no such prohibition under Ohio law.
That is why the Ohio Chamber of Commerce is working to update Ohio’s discrimination statutes, so that all people feel welcome to work in the Buckeye State no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Ohio Fairness Act – which the Ohio Chamber has testified as a proponent on – would accomplish this goal by updating Ohio’s Civil Rights statutes to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in public spaces, housing, and the workplace.
Despite the US Supreme Court holding, the Fairness Act is still needed in Ohio because the court’s holding is limited only to workplace discrimination actions. This leaves many LGBTQ Ohioans without legal protections in housing and public places. Without full protections under the law, gifted LGBTQ individuals may choose to leave Ohio or take employment opportunities elsewhere which harms our state’s economic competitiveness – especially when 22 states already have these legal protections in place.
At the Ohio Chamber we will continue advocating for the enactment of the Ohio Fairness Act because we know Ohio employers must have access to a diverse and talented workforce in order to compete in today’s economy.