Landmark LGBT Supreme Court Win Leads to $825,000 Settlement

Author: David B. Weisenfeld, XpertHR Legal Editor

November 8, 2022

The fired Georgia employee who won a groundbreaking Supreme Court victory in 2020 for gay rights in the workplace has settled his discrimination case for $825,000.

Gerald Bostock, the named plaintiff in Bostock v. Clayton County, was terminated shortly after his employer learned of his sexual orientation. Bostock had claimed his employer fired him from his job as a child welfare services coordinator after learning that he played in a gay softball league, despite a strong performance record. The employer had countered that it dismissed him based on an audit of funds he managed.

The Supreme Court ruled in Bostock's favor, finding employers that fire an individual merely for being gay or transgender violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch said, "An individual's homosexuality or transgender status is not relevant to employment decisions."

After the Supreme Court's decision, the case was sent back to the lower courts, but the sides worked out the settlement rather than have the case go to trial.

"No one should go to work fearful of losing their job because of who they are, who they love or how they identify," said Bostock at a news conference following the settlement.

In the aftermath of the Dobbs decision last June, there has been speculation that the Supreme Court may revisit LGBTQ rights. The Court will hear oral arguments next month in the case of a Colorado web designer who refused to work on websites for same-sex couples and sued to challenge the state's anti-discrimination law. The Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act bans private employers from refusing services to members of the public based on their identity.

The Colorado case, 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, does not involve Title VII and will revolve around whether the state law violates the First Amendment's free speech rights.