COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA)- The Supreme Court issued a historic ruling earlier this week now saying it is illegal to discriminate against someone in the workplace because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
The move is big news for members of the LGBTQ community in South Carolina, who can no longer be fired for their sexual orientation.
Before this ruling, SC was one of more than 30 states that did not protect LGBTQ employees.
“The trans community is a heavy target right now for job discrimination and that’s across the country,” explained Jeff March with South Carolina Pride and the Columbia Community Relations Council.
The Supreme Court’s ruling delivered Monday will change that statistic. “Federal law now protects individuals in employment opportunities on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” said Professor Joe Seiner with the UofSC Law School.
This small change in the books means big changes in the workplace. Employers will now have to modify policies and practices to reflect the change.
Seiner continued, “So now they have to worry about harassment, what other workers might be saying to these individuals creating a hostile environment and when making decisions making sure there is no discriminatory bias.”
This decision also means even bigger changes for the LGBTQ community.
Jeff March added, “Marriage equality was important, but not every LGBT person is going to engage in the unity of marriage. But everybody has to get a job, everybody has the right to work, everybody needs a job to survive.”
This decision only applies to employers with 15 or more employees. With that being said there’s still room, unfortunately, for smaller businesses to have discriminatory practices.
Housing discrimination and healthcare discrimination are two areas advocates say also need to be addressed here in the state.