Supreme Court Rules That Civil Rights Law Protects LGBTQ Workers
Attorney Paul Harding of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP is on the radio with WIZN discussing the recent Supreme Court ruling that a landmark civil rights law protects gay and transgender workers from workplace discrimination. Please take a listen or read the transcription below.
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Joe: 106.7 WIZN. Quiet Riot it’s “Come on Feel the Noize.” Heard Foghat, “Slow Ride” before that. I’m Joe Vega here with you in your Wednesday “Rock and Ride Home” and I’ve got Paul Harding on the phone right now from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti. Hello, Paul.
Paul: Hey, Joe. How are you?
Joe: I’m doing good. So I’m calling you in regards to the latest Supreme Court decision which states that people can no longer be fired for their sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s, you know, it’s pretty big news and I guess my first question is are you surprised with this ruling?
Paul: You know, the Supreme Court always surprises me, but they didn’t here. This is what I expected that they would do. We’ve got about 28 states who already have protections, employment protections for folks in this category. In Vermont was I think the second state to do it. So we’ve had this for a long time here. They just federally codified it in all 50 states. I guess if you held a gun to my head, I would have said, “Oh, I thought that the anti-discrimination laws that, you know, covered gay and transgender workers was already in place.” You couldn’t fire someone because…
Joe: Yeah. That was my thought when I first heard about this was, “Isn’t this already a law?” But it’s just in Vermont and some other states like you said.
Paul: And interestingly enough, I looked in New York, you know, neighboring states, and it sort of was in New York. It’s sexual orientation, but not the gender identity. So, you know, states like New York that purports to be on the cutting edge of these things that hadn’t done it so it just cleaned it up on a national level.
Joe: Now, is it surprising because it’s a conservative court now?
Paul: Yeah. So there you go, right? It was kind of a test. Looking at this saying, “Okay. Has this court turned?” And some of the folks that people thought would, you know, take an opposition to this did not and the folks who did take the opposition were folks that, you know…at least one of them, that people thought wouldn’t. But, yeah, ultimately was kind of a test for a court that we perceived has changed and it kind of delivered this thing in a way that we would have expected the courts a few years ago to have done it.
Joe: Let’s say you were a person who was fired because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, how hard would that be to get a settlement for?
Paul: Well, you know, again, a proof issue, right? So someone’s gotta put it direct because we are [inaudible 00:02:08] state, we can come in and say, “You know what, you’re just gone.” “Yeah, but I’ve been here 15 years.” “Yeah, but you know what, you’re gonna be gone.” Because, you know, again, the big ones race, color, sex, national origin, if you’re pregnant, disabled, religious, you can’t fire for those things and now you got, you know, gay and transgender, but you’ve got to make sure that your employer… sometimes they’ll state it, right? That’s an easy one. That would be an easy recovery. Ultimately, it becomes a proof issue. And well, once you prove it, if that is the basis of it, now you have a clear line for being compensated.
Joe: Okay. Well, thank you very much. Paul Harding from Martin, Harding & Mazzotti.
Paul: Talk soon, Joe.
Joe: Remember you can call Paul or any of the fine lawyers of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti at any time at 1800law1010 or go online to 1800law1010.com. All right. Mel Allen’s taking over, he’s getting music from Deep Purple and Steve Miller next.