The Supreme Court agreed today to hear three cases testing the reach of Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act in protecting LGBTQ Americans from discrimination in employment.

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has worked to develop and advance legal arguments that both sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination come within the coverage of “sex” discrimination under Title VII, as in its 2017 case Cote v. Walmart, which resulted in the largest ever class action settlement on behalf of LGBTQ employees.

GLAD Civil Rights Project Director Mary L. Bonauto issued the following statement:

“The cases that were granted cert today could determine if vital federal workplace protections are affirmed, or are stripped away from millions of LGBTQ people across the country.

“More and more courts as well as thousands of businesses nationally have agreed on the common-sense connection between sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination and sex discrimination. Now the Supreme Court has the chance to clarify this common-sense interpretation explicitly and definitively.

“No one should be at risk of being fired simply because of who they are or who they love. Discrimination in the workplace contributes to higher rates of unemployment and poverty among LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ people of color. Nondiscrimination protections are essential to addressing this inequity.

As we continue to work for explicit, comprehensive nondiscrimination statutes protecting LGBTQ people in every area of life, we hope the Supreme Court will take this opportunity to affirm that discrimination against workers because of their identity violates Title VII, is un-American and is simply wrong.”

The cases that will be heard are Altitude Express v. Zarda, Bostock v. Clay County, Georgia, and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC and Aimee Stephens.