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Bostock v. Clayton County

United States Supreme Court
140 S. Ct. 1731 (2020)



Gerald Bostock (plaintiff) worked for ten years as a child-welfare advocate for Clayton County, Georgia (defendant). Shortly after Bostock started playing in a gay softball league, the county fired him for conduct “unbecoming” a county employee. Bostock sued in federal court for gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The trial court dismissed his claim, reasoning that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on homosexuality, and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed that ruling. Meanwhile, two other circuit courts reached the opposite result in similar cases. First, skydiving instructor Donald Zarda (plaintiff) was fired a few days after he mentioned he was gay. Second, the funeral home where Aimee Stephens (plaintiff) worked for years, presenting as a man, fired her after Stephens said she intended to live and work as a transgender woman. Unlike Bostock’s case, both circuit courts in Zarda’s and Stephens’s cases ruled that Title VII prohibits firing an employee for being homosexual or transgender. To resolve the split in circuit court rulings, the United States Supreme Court joined the three cases and granted certiorari to hear them together.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Gorsuch, J.)

Dissent (Kavanaugh, J.)

Dissent (Alito, J.)

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