Feb. 10, 2020 - University of Houston Law Center students learned about three LGBTQ discrimination cases that were presented before the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019.
"SCOTUS & LGBTQ+ Employment Discrimination: A Discussion on Cases Before the Supreme Court," was co-presented last week by the Law Center's branch of the American Constitution Society, and OUTLaw, a student organization for LGBTQ concerns devoted to the issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students.
“This year, OUTLaw has aimed to grow its presence on campus, create a supportive space for LGBTQ+ law students, connect our members with LGBTQ+ attorneys, and inform law students and faculty about matters affecting our community, including employment discrimination,” said 2L Emma Brockway, president of OUTLaw. “Our event allowed us to accomplish these goals, and we were honored to hear from two distinguished attorneys.”
“It was a pleasure to hear from Brian and Professor Berman on their predictions for how these monumental cases will be decided,” added 2L Mark Kritzer, president of the Law Center’s American Constitution Society chapter.
“With questions from the Supreme Court’s bench centered around ancillary topics like gendered bathrooms, there appears some concern over how narrow or wide the Court will define gender identity with their decision in Funeral Homes.”
Speakers included Associate Professor Emily Berman, who teaches Constitutional Law, Foreign Affairs Law, and National Security Law and Brian Klosterboer, a Skadden Fellow at the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas.
Among the cases discussed were R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC, which centers on whether discrimination on the basis of gender identity is covered by the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The case involves a transgender woman fired from a funeral home after informing her employer that she identifies as a woman and intended to undergo gender reassignment surgery.
The following topic was Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, a case where a man was dismissed from his job as a skydiving instructor for sharing his sexual orientation with a customer. This case was consolidated with Bostock v. Clayton County, which involves a gay man who alleged that Clayton County, Georgia terminated his employment because of his sexual orientation under the claim that he had misspent government funds.
Oral arguments for the three cases were delivered on Oct. 8, 2019. Decisions are expected later this year.