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The Supreme Court will address LGBTQ rights

There is a long history of the battle between workers and employers in establishing basic rights and protections for employees. While an individual has little power against a company, the basis of most laws focuses on protecting a class of workers from discriminatory actions in hiring practices as well as treatment in the workplace. For instance, one of the earliest efforts involved child labor in the early part of the 20th century. Although New Jersey and many other states have laws protecting the LGBTQ community, the issue is on the October slate of cases for the Supreme Court to decide.

Historically, employment discrimination cases have been pursued primarily under federal law. One of the seminal pieces of legislation in that regard is the Civil Rights Act's Title VII, which prohibits employment discrimination due to 'race, color, religion, sex, or national origin." Legal experts point out that, previously, under the Obama administration, the government's position was that LGBTQ discrimination was covered under Title VII as a form of sex discrimination.

The current Trump administration contends Title VII was never intended to cover gay or transgender workers. Three cases have been joined to place this issue before the Supreme Court. More than 200 major US corporations and many state attorney generals have filed amicus briefs weighing in on the side of extending federal protection to LGBTQ workers. Part of their argument is that an individual company's policy and the current patchwork of state laws are insufficient to protect modern workers often employed in multiple states.

Workplace discrimination may occur in many different forms. Harassment, retaliation, a hostile work environment and a disparate impact may be issues to explore. An experienced employment lawyer can evaluate a case to determine the rights and responsibilities of all the parties concerned.

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