News (USA)

The man who won LGBTQ job protections nationwide settles his case with former employer

Gerald Bostock
Gerald Bostock Photo: Provided

Gerald Bostock – the namesake for the 2020 historic Supreme Court decision in Bostock v. Clayton County that made anti-LGBTQ discrimination illegal in the workplace – has finally settled his own discrimination lawsuit.

Bostock spent over ten years working for Clayton County, Georgia as an advocate for victims of child abuse and neglect. He was abruptly fired in 2013, six months after he joined a gay softball league and subsequently endured homophobic comments from colleagues. When he was let go, his employer cited “conduct unbecoming a county employee” as the reason. Bostock believes his termination was directly related to his sexual orientation.

In conjunction with two others, Bostock’s case led the Supreme Court to declare that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – which bans workplace discrimination on the basis of sex – applies to LGBTQ people.

That victory, however, did not mean Bostock’s personal case against Clayton County was over. Once the Supreme Court declared anti-LGBTQ discrimination against employees to be illegal, he then had to go back to court to determine whether or not he was actually the victim of it.

The case was settled on October 5, according to court documents obtained by Law & Crime, though the terms of the settlement are not yet public.

The Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County has already had significant ripple effects.

In its wake, President Biden signed two executive orders that said federal agencies should “fully implement” the decision by applying the reasoning that anti-LGBTQ discrimination inherently involves sex discrimination.

His actions included Title IX’s protections in education. The decision has been used to protect LGBTQ students in court.

Famed trans activist Gavin Grimm, for example, won in federal court against a Virginia school district that banned him from the boys’ bathroom. The court said that based on the reasoning in Bostock, the school was in violation of Title IX.

Also using Bostock, The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled in 2020 that another transgender boy, Drew Adams, had to be allowed to use boys’ restrooms.

Another federal judge cited Bostock when blocking a Trump administration rule that would have made it easier for medical professionals to claim a religious exemption and refuse to treat transgender people.

And this year, out Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel (D), and the ACLU cited Bostock in their case before the Michigan Supreme Court which led to the decision that businesses, landlords, and others cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity, even though the state’s civil rights legislation doesn’t specifically mention those categories.

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