In the 2020 case, Bostock v. Clayton County, GA, the United States Supreme Court ruled that LGBT workers are protected against employment discrimination under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This decision caused concern among some religious businesses and nonprofit organizations whose owners and members argued that employing LGBT individuals would go against sincerely held religious beliefs. In response to Bostock v. Clayton County, GA, Braidwood Management Inc., which operates Christian health-care businesses, and Bear Creek Bible Church filed a lawsuit against the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, arguing that they and other religious organizations should not be held liable for employment decisions based on an individual’s LGBT status.
The results of this case were summarized in the Bloomberg Law Daily Labor Report, “Religious Businesses Shielded From LGBT Bias Claims, Judge Rules,” by Erin Mulvaney. The case went before U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor in Fort Worth, Texas, who ruled that for-profit businesses can avoid liability for LGBT hiring discrimination based on sincerely held religious beliefs. This protection, he argued, is granted by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment of the Constitution. Additionally, O’Connor held that religious nonprofit organizations could avoid liability for LGBT hiring discrimination based on sincerely held religious beliefs under Title VII’s religious exemptions. Mulvaney notes that conflicts between religious rights and anti-bias laws have been at the center of legal decisions for years. This is not the first case of its kind and it likely will not be the last.
See what the EEOC has to say about sexual orientation and gender identity here.
See what the EEOC has to say about religious discrimination and accommodations here.