Gender identity and sexual orientation are protected statuses under Minnesota state law. This means that it is illegal for employers to discriminate against workers who are gay or transgender. However, the laws of many states afford no such protection to LGBTQ+ workers.
There are currently three cases before the United States Supreme Court with the potential to either expand or curtail protections for LGBTQ+ workers around the country. In July, the attorneys general of 21 states, plus the District of Columbia, filed an amicus curiae brief with the Supreme Court arguing that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is illegal under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
According to Cornell Law School, the law allows an individual or group with a desire to influence the outcome of a case due to a strong interest in it to file a brief with the court. The Latin term for this is amicus curiae, which means “friend of the court” and indicates that the entity filing is not a party to the action. Before filing the brief, the interested party must petition the court for permission, and the Supreme Court has imposed rules that govern under which circumstances this can occur.
According to the Office of the Minnesota Attorney General, the brief argues that employment discrimination against LGBTQ+ people has an adverse effect on states’ economies as well as on the workers themselves. The brief cites Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, arguing that it prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex stereotyping of transgender people or of sexual orientation.