76 Companies Urge Supreme Court to Fight Anti-LGBTQ Discrimination in the Workplace

· Updated on May 28, 2018

Seventy-six companies are urging the Supreme Court to hear a case involving a female security guard who claims she was discriminated against for being a lesbian.

Businesses like American Airlines, Apple, CBS, Google, Lyft, Microsoft, Pinterest, and Starbucks signed onto a “friend of the court” brief Tuesday in Evans vs. Georgia Regional Hospital. Jameka Evans sued her former employer in 2015 after she claims that co-workers at the hospital harassed her for having short hair and dressing in men’s clothing.

That suit was dismissed by Atlanta’s Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in March. In a 2-1 ruling, the court ruled that prohibitions on “sex discrimination” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 do not preclude bias on the basis of sexual orientation.

Lambda Legal, who represented Evans, has asked the nation’s highest bench for an appeal to that decision. SCOTUS will announce whether it plans to take the case later this year.

“The U.S. economy is strengthened when all employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace,” businesses write in a 33-page document. “The failure to recognize that Title VII protects LGBT workers hinders the ability of [businesses] to compete in all corners of the nation and harms the U.S. economy as a whole.”

The signatories note that in 30 states, workers can still be fired on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Unless this Court grants review, the same federal law will continue to be interpreted in opposite ways based on nothing more than the happenstance of the state in which an employee lives,” they claim. “Such a lack of uniformity in the treatment of the same federal law creates significant business costs that federal employment discrimination law is intended to obviate.”

Should the Supreme Court side with Evans, it would break with the Trump administration on the issue of LGBTQ discrimination.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo on Friday arguing that Title VII does not cover gender identity, as the law wasn’t intended to include transgender workers in its purview when it was introduced five decades ago. The Department of Justice has held that any action on discrimination law should be taken by Congress, not the courts.

That conclusion is the opposite of the one the Obama administration reached in December 2014, when former Attorney General Eric Holder extended workplace protections to trans people for the first time.

Corporations have increasingly lobbied on behalf of LGBTQ rights in the past few years. Following the passage of North Carolina’s House Bill 2 last year, more than 200 companies spoke out against the controversial anti-trans bathroom bill. Businesses have also been vocally opposed to anti-LGBTQ efforts in Texas, Georgia, and Mississippi.

The Human Rights Campaign notes in a press release that the 76 companies lobbying the Supreme Court account for $678 billion in revenue and employ 1.1 million people.

Here are the entities who signed onto the brief, which includes two pro sports teams:

  • AdRoll, Inc.
  • Affirm, Inc.
  • Airbnb, Inc.
  • AltSchool
  • American Airlines
  • Apple
  • BASF Corporation
  • Ben & Jerry’s Homemade, Inc.
  • Betterment
  • Brandwatch
  • Caldwell Partners
  • Carnival Corporation
  • CBS Corporation
  • Celtra Inc.
  • Cigna Health and Life Insurance Company
  • Citrix Systems, Inc.
  • City National Bank; Coach, Inc.
  • Cornerstone Capital Inc.
  • Deutsche Bank
  • Diageo North America, Inc.
  • DoorDash, Inc.
  • Dropbox, Inc.
  • Eastern Bank
  • eBay Inc.
  • Edelman
  • The Estée Lauder Companies
  • Facebook, Inc.
  • FiftyThree, Inc.
  • General Assembly
  • Google LLC
  • Gusto
  • HopSkipDrive
  • IAC/InterActiveCorp
  • Indiegogo
  • Intel Corporation
  • Kargo; Levi Strauss & Co.
  • Linden Lab
  • LinkedIn
  • Lyft, Inc.
  • Mapbox
  • MassMutual
  • Mastercard International Inc.
  • Match Group, Inc.
  • Miami HEAT
  • Microsoft Corporation
  • Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
  • Morgan Stanley
  • National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC)
  • NIO U.S.
  • OBOX Solutions
  • On Top of the World Communities, Inc.
  • Out Leadership
  • PayPal Holdings, Inc.
  • Pinterest
  • RBC Bank (Georgia), N.A.
  • RBC Capital Markets, LLC
  • RealNetworks, Inc.
  • Replacements, Ltd.
  • Rhapsody International Inc. d/b/a Napster
  • Rising Tide Brewing Company
  • Royal Bank of Canada
  • salesforce.com, inc.
  • Shutterstock, Inc.
  • Spotify USA Inc.
  • Starbucks Corporation
  • Sun Life Financial (U.S.) Services Company, Inc.
  • Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Ltd.
  • Thumbtack, Inc.
  • Trillium Asset Management
  • Uber Technologies, Inc.
  • Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical Inc.
  • Viacom Inc.
  • Weebly, Inc.
  • Witeck Communications
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