Latest News

Education Alert

SUPREME COURT ISSUES LANDMARK DECISION ON TITLE VII

For a discussion of these and other legal issues, please visit our website at www.mhtl.com. To receive legal updates via e-mail, contact information@mhtl.com.

On June 15, 2020, in Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia, the Supreme Court, in a six to three decision, held that pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), an employer may not fire an employee based on gender identity or sexuality because such action discriminates against that individual in part because of sex.

The Court explained that “[c]onsider, for example, an employer with two employees, both of whom are attracted to men. The two individuals are, to the employer’s mind, materially identical in all respects, except that one is a man and the other a woman. If the employer fires the male employee for no reason other than the fact he is attracted to men, the employer discriminates against him for traits or actions it tolerates in his female colleague.” It gave another example that “[i]f the employer retains an otherwise identical employee who was identified as female at birth, the employer intentionally penalizes a person identified as male at birth for traits or actions that it tolerates in an employee identified as female at birth. Again, the individual employee’s sex plays an unmistakable and impermissible role in the discharge decision.”

The Court further underscored that it did not need to consider legislative history when interpreting Title VII because the express language of the statute supported that discrimination based on sex encompasses actions taken based on gender identity and sexuality.

This decision reminds employers that, consistent with state law, it is impermissible to make employment decisions based on an employee’s gender identity or sexual orientation.  Furthermore, it may have implications for Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) in recent decisions had not consistently defined sex discrimination as including discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.  This decision has the potential to change that approach.

This Client Alert was prepared by Felicia Vasudevan and was reviewed by Mary Ellen Sowyrda and Kevin Bresnahan. If you have any questions about this issue, please contact Felicia Vasudevan or the attorney responsible for your account, or call (617) 479-5000.

This alert is for informational purposes only and may be considered advertising.  It does not constitute the rendering of legal, tax or professional advice or services.  You should seek specific detailed legal advice prior to taking any definitive actions.

©2020 MHTL

Download Download
Latest News

Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Presents in Collaboration with Cape Cod Human Resources Association

    Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP Partners presented their Labor & Employment Law Update in collaboration with the Cape Cod Human Resources Association. Attorney Nan ONeill presented the first segment titled “Creating Your Tool Kit for Meeting Reasonable Accommodation Obligations”, where she examined reasonable accommodation obligations applicable in the current health crises, including the global pandemic and opioid misuse, and outlined steps to create your own toolkit. Attorney Kier Wachterhauser presented a 2020-2021 Case Law Update, followed by Read More

Legal Updates

The American Rescue Plan Act’s Aid Allocations to State, Local Governments, and Schools

On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act (“ARPA”) which provides for a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus package. State and local governments, and also many educational entities, will receive substantial funding. Having endured the last year of the global COVID-19 pandemic, both states and local governments, as well as schools, have experienced unexpected expenses, losses in revenues, and budgetary burdens. The purpose of this Client Alert is to explain generally how funds from the ARPA relief aid have been designated to alleviate those COVID-19-related challenges.

Quincy, MA

Crown Colony Plaza
300 Crown Colony Drive, Suite 410
P.O. Box 9126
Quincy, MA 02169-9126

Boston, MA

75-101 Federal Street
Boston, MA 02110

Tel: (617) 479-5000
Tel: (888) 841-4850
Fax: (617) 479-6469

Springfield, MA

One Monarch Place, Suite 1310R
Springfield, MA 01144

© 2021 Murphy, Hesse, Toomey & Lehane, LLP. All Rights Reserved. Website by Interactive Palette