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 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.
Walter went to a “clean slate” organization, where they helped him reduce the conviction to a misdemeanor. He believed that it had been “expunged” and removed from his conviction record entirely. So when the school district’s job application asked about prior convictions, Walter answered, “No.” When a background check surfaced his old conviction, that mistake cost Walter the job.