WF Statement on Supreme Court Decision to Restrict LGBTQ+ Rights

Workplace Fairness (WF) continues to be a voice and advocate for workers, their rights and their protection in the workplace. 

In response to the recent Supreme Court decision in 303 Creative v. Elenis that has restricted the rights of members of the LGBTQIA+ community, WF reaffirms its support for the fair and equitable treatment of LGBTQIA+ individuals in the workplace and in society at large. 

While the ruling does not apply directly to employment, the Court’s analysis may have repercussions with respect to future decisions affecting employment rights.

The case concerns a graphic designer who wanted to add a notice on her website stating that, due to her religious beliefs, she would not design sites for same-sex couples. The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act made it illegal for businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation – a protected class under Colorado state law (as well as in other states) – and prohibited communications indicating that a business would not offer services to a protected class.

The Supreme Court held that it is unconstitutional for Colorado to enforce a law that requires companies to convey messages that they disagree with through their work. Under that analysis, the right to freedom of speech allows businesses to choose how and to whom they provide certain services and communications.

As a result of that decision, businesses such as hair salons, accounting firms, and others are empowered to discriminate directly against LGBTQIA+ individuals by refusing to offer services based on their prejudices. Moreover, businesses may contend that they also are empowered to discriminate in providing their services based on religion, sex, race, and other protected classes.

At the core of our mission, we believe that employees are entitled to – and employers should assure – fair and non-discriminatory treatment in the workplace.  While workers are not currently affected by this Supreme Court decision, it is important for employees to be educated about their legal rights against discrimination in hiring, termination, and other employment practices. In addition, employers should consider strengthening their anti-discrimination policies and procedures to emphasize their support for and protection of employees of all backgrounds.

Workplace Fairness will be monitoring developments regarding LGBTQIA+ workers’ rights and regarding new laws that could impact employees. To stay informed about your rights and new developments, visit this page.

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