Business groups applaud Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBT people from job discrimination

Business groups applaud Supreme Court ruling protecting LGBT people from job discrimination
© Greg Nash

Business groups across multiple industries celebrated the Supreme Court ruling on Monday that gay and transgender employees are protected by civil rights laws against employer discrimination. 

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which represents more than 3 million businesses, said the landmark decision will help the workforce reach its full potential.

“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is pleased that, as a result of today’s Supreme Court ruling, federal law prohibits discrimination in the workplace against gay, lesbian and transgender employees,” Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer, said in a statement on Monday.

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He added, “Combatting discrimination also allows our diverse workforce and free enterprise system to reach its full potential.” 

The Supreme Court in a 6-3 ruling authored by Justice Neil GorsuchNeil GorsuchTrump suggests Supreme Court nominee would tip panel against Roe v. Wade Senate GOP set to vote on Trump's Supreme Court pick before election Confirmation hearing for Trump's Supreme Court pick to start Oct. 12 MORE said gay and transgender employees are protected by civil rights laws against employer discrimination.

Bradley noted that the Chamber has supported the Equality Act, which passed the House in May 2019 but has not received a vote in the Senate. The bill would include sexual orientation or gender identity in the definition of protected classes from employment discrimination.

“The U.S. Chamber believes protecting American workers from discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation or national origin is absolutely essential to fulfilling the promise of equality that is fundamental to American life,” he said.

The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) noted that the ruling is one of the most consequential since Obergefell, which legalized gay marriage in 2015.

“Too many LGBT Americans go to work every day hiding who they are or whom they love because they believe that simply living authentically would mean losing their jobs and livelihoods. The Supreme Court has begun to lift that heavy emotional burden and made history by affirming that LGBT workers are entitled to federal protections, too,” NAM CEO Jay Timmons said in a statement

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Timmons also said that manufacturers are committed to building diverse and inclusive workplaces, which makes workplaces stronger.

Industry groups that represent franchise companies, technology executives and wine companies also expressed their support for the decision.

“IFA is pleased that this is now the law of the land. Today’s decision reaffirms the rights and dignity of LGBTQ people and will be viewed as an important step toward making our country more equitable for all,” International Franchise Association CEO Robert Cresanti said in a statement.

TechNet, a network of tech industry executives, also stressed its support for the Equality Act in praising the Supreme Court’s decision.

“TechNet has worked diligently to protect the rights of LGBTQ Americans at the federal and state level because of the harmful impacts discrimination has on our society and economy,” CEO Linda Moore said in a statement.

Michelle Korsmo, CEO of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, called the decision a “huge win.”

“The eradication of discrimination on the basis of sex, gender identity or sexual orientation is a righteous and attainable goal for today’s leaders,” Korsmo said in a statement. 

Labor unions also praised the decision, with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka describing it as a “momentous step forward.”

“This is a momentous step forward for equality in an otherwise dark time, as America suffers from a public health pandemic, an economic free fall and the poison of structural racism,” he said. “Let’s use this moment not to rest, but to push forward so every single worker in America can live and work under the banner of liberty and justice for all.”