More than 200 companies, including giant corporate names like Amazon, American Airlines, Bank of America, Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza, Goldman Sachs, IBM, Microsoft, Nike, Starbucks, and Walt Disney, are arguing that the Supreme Court should rule in favor of a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The argument is being made in a brief sent to the court as they gear up to consider a series of cases about whether LGBTQ people are protected by existing civil rights laws. In one case, a circuit court found that “sexual orientation discrimination is motivated, at least in part, by sex and is thus a subset of sex discrimination,” in the case of a gay skydiving instructor who alleges he was fired because he was gay. In the second case, which involves a trans woman fired from a Michigan funeral home, a different circuit court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not protect transgender employees. And finally, in the third case, a different court ruled against a gay County Employee, finding that being fired for being gay was allowed.
Now, the Supreme Court is poised to answer questions about LGBTQ employment discrimination once and for all, and some of the country’s largest companies are arguing that it’s good for business if the United States has a uniform, federal rule that protects LGBTQ employees across all 50 states.
“Even where companies voluntarily implement policies to prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, such policies are not a substitute for the force of law,” the brief argues. “Nor is the patchwork of incomplete state or local laws sufficient protection — for example, they cannot account for the cross-state mobility requirements of the modern workforce.”
Several LGBTQ rights group coordinated the brief and the companies signing the brief represent more than 7 million employees and $5 trillion in annual revenue, according to the Human Rights Campaign.