July 2, 2019 at 8:00 am EDT | by Chris Johnson
206 companies urge Supreme Court to rule Title VII covers LGBT workers
206 companies are urging the Supreme Court to find Title VII covers gay workers.

A total of 206 companies have signed onto a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to find Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination against LGBT people in the workforce.

The friend-of-the-court brief — organized by the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal, Out & Equal, Out Leadership and Freedom for All Americans — is signed by the nation’s top businesses and argues anti-LGBT discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus illegal under the Title VII.

Among the signers are food companies like Domino’s Pizza and Coca-Cola Company, tech companies like Facebook and Mozilla Corp., and defense contractors like Northrup Grumman Corp.

“Even where companies voluntarily implement policies to prohibit sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, such policies are not a substitute for the force of law,” the brief says. “Nor is the patchwork of incomplete state or local laws sufficient protection —for example, they cannot account for the cross-state mobility requirements of the modern workforce. Only a uniform federal rule can enable businesses to recruit and retain, and employees to perform, at their highest levels.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, the brief has more corporate signers than any previous business brief in an LGBT non-discrimination case.

The brief was written by Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, a Los Angeles-based law firm that also represents the signers in the case along with Robinson Curley P.C. and Taylor & Cohen LLP.

Erin Uritus, CEO of Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, said in a statement the brief “exposes the lie that affirming Civil Rights protections for LGBTQ Americans is somehow anti-business.”

“The opposite is true,” Uritus said. “Equality is good for businesses and employees. And consumers — who are increasingly savvy and intentional about their spending power — are demanding equality. I’m inspired by all of the leaders who have joined with us today in submitting this brief. The Civil Rights Act needs to be affirmed in a way that serves and protects all Americans.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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