General Motors has joined hundreds of other major corporations in an anti-discrimination legal brief.
The brief seeks to compel the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that federal law bans job discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. It is surfacing just as discussions are set to take place on October 8th examining three prominent cases that could determine if gay, lesbian and transgender individuals are protected from discrimination by existing federal civil rights laws.
In addition to General Motors, the brief was also signed by Amazon, American Airlines, Bank of American, Ben & Jerry’s, Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Nike, Starbucks, Viacom, and many others. It argues in favor of a uniform federal rule that requires protection for LGBTQ employees across all 50 states.
“Even where companies voluntarily implement policies to prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, such policies are not a substitute for the force of law,” the brief argues.
Republican U.S. Rep. Joe Schwartz and Michigan GOP operative Greg McNeilly, alongside 30 other well-noted Republicans, signed onto a separate brief that argues that the “plain language” of the law protects against discrimination toward transgender and gay workers.
“Both textualism and precedent accordingly command that Title VII’s words be applied to mean what they say: It is unlawful for an employee’s sex to contribute to an employer’s decision to discharge or otherwise discriminate against the employee,” argues the Republican brief. “Yet that is exactly what happened in all three cases on review.”
Both the legal brief and Republican brief highlight a Michigan case from 2013, in which a funeral home fired an employee after she announced her transition from male to female. The funeral home asked the high court to hear the case and argued that an appeals court ruling in favor of the transgender employee “threatens freedom of conscience.”
It’s uncertain if the Supreme Court will follow in line with the arguments presented by the briefs or the recent federal appeals court rulings in Chicago, New York, and Cincinnati, which extend protection to transgender and gay workers.
Source: Detroit News