More than 200 major businesses file landmark amicus brief in support of LGBT+ workers

Today, Out Leadership, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Lambda Legal, Out & Equal, and Freedom for All Americans announced that 206 major corporations have signed a “friend of the court” brief that will be filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in a trio of cases that may determine whether LGBT+ people are protected from discrimination under existing federal civil rights laws – which prohibit sex discrimination in contexts ranging from the employment to housing, health care and education.

The historic number of companies — twice as many as previous LGBT+ non-discrimination briefs – represent more than 7 million employees, a wide variety of industries, and more than $5 trillion in revenue. Those signing the brief are:

“We’re thrilled to see so many of our nation’s most innovative and profitable businesses coming together to say that LGBT+ Americans are, and should continue to be, protected from discrimination,” said Todd Sears, Chief Executive Officer, Out Leadership. “As our recently issued State LGBT+ Business Climate Index shows, the laws protecting LGBT+ people from discrimination vary wildly between – and often within – states. This patchwork approach prevents LGBT+ people from participating fully in the economy and from reaching their highest potential, and it’s past time for the Supreme Court to make nondiscrimination protections the law of the land.”

The brief was authored by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, one of the nation’s prominent law firms. Amici are represented by Quinn Emanuel, Robinson Curley P.C., and Taylor & Cohen LLP.

In the three cases, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v. EEOC and Aimee Stephens and Bostock v. Clayton County, consolidated with Altitude Express, Inc. v. Zarda, the U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether anti-LGBT+ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination that violates federal law. The Supreme Court is set to hear the cases during on October 8, 2019.

In the brief, the more than 200 companies argue that:

  • LGBT+ non-discrimination and inclusion are good for business and the economy.
  • Top American businesses are comfortable with courts continuing to hold that federal law provides protections to LGBT+ employees.
  • Non-discrimination protections for LGBT+ employees help improve operations for businesses.
  • There would be significant costs for employers and employees if sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination were not forbidden by law.

Leading American businesses have long expressed a commitment to LGBT+ diversity and inclusion in their workforces as evidenced by inclusive policies, practices and benefits. Businesses realize being inclusive is not only the right thing to do — it just makes good business sense as well. Companies that are inclusive of LGBT+ people and employees with LGBT+ family members are able to attract and retain the best and brightest across a wide spectrum of diversity, reap the benefits from increased engagement and productivity, and actively participate in the vibrant LGBT+ consumer marketplace.

Having built inclusive workplaces for their LGBT+ employees and LGBT+ dependents of employees, companies have a vested interest in the legal landscape in which those employees and their dependents live, work or go to school.

Several federal courts have previously held that discrimination against LGBT+ people violates laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The Trump-Pence administration, however, has threatened to redefine federal sex discrimination through regulations attempting to erase protections for transgender people, and has asked the Supreme Court to reverse course and bar LGBT+ people from receiving federal nondiscrimination protections.

Signatories of the amicus brief include the following Out Leadership member companies:

Amalgamated Bank, American Express, AXA, Bank of America, Bloomberg L.P., Caldwell Partners, Cigna, Citi, Dow, Facebook, Goldman Sachs, HSBC Bank, LinkedIn, Mastercard, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, Moody’s, Ogilvy, PayPal

To see a complete list of the signatory companies, download the full press release. Read the full brief here.


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