On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court issued a ground-breaking Opinion in the case of Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia. Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964, as amended, protects employees from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, and sex. The Bostock Opinion clarifies what the basis of “sex” means.
The Court recognized the term “sex” has traditionally, referred to the biological distinctions between males and females. The Court, through the Bostock Opinion, has now confirmed, the basis of sex also provides protections for homosexual and transgender employees. The Court stated, in part: “An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or acquisitions it would not have questioned in members of a different sex. Sex plays a necessary and undisguisable role in the decision, exactly what Title VII forbids.”
It is the Department’s opinion the Bostock definition of sex, may and should be applied to the North Dakota Human Rights Act, as amended, and the Housing Discrimination Act, as amended. Therefore, effective June 15, 2020, the Department will be accepting and investigating complaints of discrimination, based on sexual orientation and gender identity, in all human rights laws the Department enforces, including employment, public services, public accommodations, credit transactions, and housing. The Department is in the process of updating all of its intake forms and educational material, to reflect the Bostock decision.