By taking up all three cases the Supreme Court has decided to take on one of the most critical issues facing the LGBTQ community: whether federal law allows people to express their identity fully without reprisal or harassment.
The Trump Administration has proposed a revised regulation that eviscerates the Fair Housing Act’s protections and undermines the civil rights promises of the Fair Housing Act. HUD says that its proposal aligns the rule with judicial interpretations of disparate impact law, including Inclusive Communities, but it does nothing of the sort. Instead, the rule incorrectly twists the language of the Supreme Court and runs roughshod over settled case law on disparate impact. Should the rule come into effect, it would severely roll back these protections for our most vulnerable communities, and it would allow discriminatory conduct to flourish.
The FAIR Act would invalidate any agreements requiring arbitration of employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights claims. This means that a court could not order arbitration of any legal claim arising in those contexts; instead, plaintiffs could pursue their cases in court. The bill explicitly outlaws class or collective action waivers, thereby ensuring that group actions can remain powerful mechanisms to achieve justice.
Last month, the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit decided Brown v. District of Columbia, 928 F.3d 1070 (D.C. Cir. 2019), in favor of a class of about 1,000 residents of D.C.-supported nursing facilities who are seeking transfers to community-based care. The class alleged that the District failed to transition them out of the public institutions in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by programs receiving federal assistance (here, Medicaid, which helps fund the nursing facilities).
LGBTQ workers are entitled to the full protections of our nation’s laws. If the Supreme Court rules that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, it will create an arbitrary and painful carve-out to the landmark civil rights law, leaving LGBTQ workers vulnerable to discrimination and harassment on the job. The Impact Fund and our allies urge the Court to adopt a uniform, protective standard that will fulfill Title VII’s promise of equal employment opportunity for all.
Workers discriminated against on the basis of disability must be allowed to join together and use class actions to pursue workplaces free of discrimination, just as Congress intended when it passed the ADA.