WASHINGTON — The United States Supreme Court has announced it will hear Bostock v. Clayton County, an employment case involving sexual orientation, on Tuesday, Oct. 8.
The case has been consolidated with another case, Altitude Express Inc. v. Zarda, with one hour for arguments.
The Supreme Court will consider whether an employee’s sexual orientation is protected under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Clayton County Attorney Jack Hancock of Freeman Mathis and Gary LLP has previously told the News, “The county’s position, as outlined in our briefs, is that sexual orientation is not covered by Title VII.“
According to the brief, “The County denies that Petitioner’s sexual orientation was a motivating factor in its decision to conduct an audit of the program he managed or its decision to terminate his employment after the audit was completed,“ and that “it terminated Petitioner for legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons based on the results of the audit.“
Brian J. Sutherland of Buckley Beal LLC, who represents Bostock, has previously declined comment on the case. However, in a response to the county’s brief, Sutherland wrote the county is claiming lower courts are split on the question, adding, “Clayton County is forced instead to claim that Mr. Bostock asks the Court to ‘seize legislative power’ and ‘rewrite Title VII.’ But he does no such thing. He simply asks the Court to clarify its own pronouncements on the scope of Title VII to resolve the Circuit split for him and all gay and lesbian employees in America.“
Bostock was a volunteer coordinator for CASA. After word got around that he played in the Hotlanta gay softball league, that he had tried to sign up CASA volunteers during softball events and that he had allegedly used a CASA credit card at two gay-owned Midtown restaurants, Juvenile Court Judge Steven Teske handed over a financial audit on Bostock’s activities to District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson. No charges were filed; however, Bostock was fired.
Bostock “maintains that he never engaged in any misconduct or mismanagement of funds, and that Clayton County’s ‘audit’ and its representations to the contrary are mere pretext for discrimination against him on the basis of his sexual orientation.“
The high court also will hear R.G. and G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. vs. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The American Civil Liberties Union is representing Zarda (a woman who is handling the estate of her brother, a deceased skydiver fired for being gay) and Aimee Stephens, a funeral director who was fired for being transsexual.
Follow Bostock v. Clayton County Board of Commissioners at www.supremecourt.gov/search.aspx?filename=/docket/docketfiles/html/public/17-1618.html.