Prizm News / July 8, 2019 / By Ken Schneck

206 businesses step forward to voice their support for employment nondiscrimination

Over 200 businesses, many of which operate with a strong presence here in Ohio, have signed a “friend of the court” brief in support of LGBTQ+ rights. This public stance comes in advance of an upcoming Supreme Court case that will determine whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also protects on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation. 

On October 9, the Supreme Court will soon hear arguments for a landmark trio of cases that will have far reaching effects in the world of employment protections. One of those cases originated here in the Buckeye state when Aimee Stephens successfully sued an Ohio chain of funeral homes. Stephens was fired for violating her employer’s dress code after seeking to wear women’s clothes. The owner’s defense was based in “religious beliefs” that did not support Stephens identity a trans woman. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has previously affirmed that the LGBTQ community is protected in the workplace due to the legislation. The Trump administration has argued that such discrimination is not outlawed and is thus permissible. This case will result in the Supreme Court’s first major ruling on trans rights. 

The 206 companies—including Facebook, American Airlines, Lyft, and Starbucks—argue in their amicus brief that “they 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.” As part of their statement of support, they cite the case of Bd. of Educ. of the Highland Local Sch. Dist. v. U.S. Dep’t of Education, a 2016 Ohio case that “there is not much doubt that transgender people have historically been subject to discrimination including in…employment.”

A full list of business (so you know which companies to support!) can be found in the amicus brief