Friday, November 5, 2021
John Dayton and Micah Barry, LGBTQ+ Employment Protections: the U.S. Supreme Court’s Decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia and the Implications for Public Schools, 35 Wis. J. L. Gender & Soc’y 115 (2020).
In this article Professors Dayton and Barry provide a history of LGBTQ+ discrimination and its impact in U.S. communities and schools, examine in depth the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, and discuss the opinion’s implications for public educational institutions. The article begins by recognizing “the central role employment plays in people’s lives . . . and the history of using employment discrimination to marginalize and harm vulnerable groups.” It points out that “LGBTQ+ persons have been an especially vulnerable group, with laws in many states treating their LGBTQ+ status as a lawful basis for dismissal from employment” and that “the impacts of dismissal on their lives could be devastating.”
As is well known, the Bostock decision made clear that such discrimination in employment is illegal pursuant to Title VII. Further, Professors Dayton and Barry argue, the decision “is likely to reach further than employment law and likely impact interpretations of Title IX.” Thus, it has significant legal implications for public educational institutions. As the article states:
Legal rights mean little, however, unless they are effectively translated from theory into practice. Assuring non-discrimination for all LGBTQ+ persons in schools will require educational and cultural changes in schools, changes that are long overdue. Public school officials would be wise to implement appropriate training and education programs for employees and students concerning LGBTQ+ rights and inclusion to assure legal compliance and that public schools are safe and welcoming places for everyone.
. . . [E]vidence suggests that awareness of protective workplace legislation decreases interpersonal discrimination against LGBTQ+ persons. School officials must assure legal compliance, but school officials may also improve school culture by promoting equal rights and equal respect for all people.
In short public educational institutions, “must ensure that legally compliant polices are established, administered, and respected in their schools.”