(New York, NY, Wednesday, June 17, 2020) The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) joined in the celebration of the historic decision of the U.S. Supreme Court in Bostock v. Clayton County, which unequivocally upholds the employment rights of LGBTQ persons. President Joy A. Thompson said, “WBASNY has been a long-time advocate for LGBTQ rights and proudly joined in ‘friend of the court briefs’ that were filed with the Supreme Court in the three cases that were jointly decided on Tuesday.” She also thanked the National Women’s Law Center and other advocates for their leadership in this matter.
In the 6-3 decision written by Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, the Court could not have been clearer in holding that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 expressly protects LGBTQ workers from discrimination, stating: “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids” (Bostock v. Clayton County, No. 17-1618, 6 U.S. [Jun. 15, 2020]). Prior to this decision, workers in the majority of states could be summarily fired if their employers discovered they were homosexual or transgender. The Bostock decision is now the law of the land. Title VII prohibits employment discrimination “on the basis of sex,” and that term expressly includes LGBTQ individuals.
This is a major victory for civil rights. However, the fight must continue, as LBGTQ individuals still face discrimination in schools and universities, access to health care, and many other arenas not explicitly covered in the Bostock decision. WBASNY will continue to advocate for the fair and equal administration of justice for all individuals in the courts and in society at large.
The Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY) is the professional membership organization of choice for more than 4,000 attorneys throughout New York State, and the largest statewide women’s bar association in the country. For four decades, WBASNY has been a singularly important resource for women lawyers, with professional networking, continuing legal education programming, leadership training, and advocacy for the rights of women, children, and families. Through involvement with WBASNY’s 20 regional chapters and its 40-plus substantive law committees, WBASNY’s members collaborate with one another on a variety of issues and perform public and community service, in furtherance of its mission to promote the advancement of the status of women in society and women in the legal profession; to promote the fair and equal administration of justice; and to act as a unified voice for its members with respect to issues of statewide, national and international significance to women generally and women attorneys in particular. WBASNY holds United Nations NGO status with the U.N.’s Department of Public Information, and Special Consultative status in association with the U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). WBASNY is also a founding member of the National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations.