Until recently, LGBT employees in Louisiana did not have any recourse against their employers if they were discriminated against based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. Only 21 states in the country, plus the District of Columbia, have their own laws protecting against discrimination in employment based on gender identity, and only one more state has laws protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation. Though federal law prohibits against discrimination in employment based on certain protected characteristics, LGBT status was not considered to be one of them until last month.

On June 15, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which protects against discrimination on the basis of sex, among other characteristics, also protects those in the LGBT community. Unexpectedly, the majority opinion was written by Justice Gorsuch, a Present Trump appointee, who said that a person’s gender identification and sexual orientation are necessarily intertwined with that person’s gender. The three dissenting judges argued that LGBT rights should not be protected because that was not the intent of the writers at the time the Civil Rights Act was written.

The Court’s ruling is monumental for LGBT workers in Louisiana. Now, LGBT workers who are discriminated against, retaliated against or wrongfully terminated because of their LGBT status can potentially bring a lawsuit against their employer for discrimination under federal law.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know if a supervisor’s poor treatment of an employee is based on that person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. When discrimination is more subtle, such as when an employer pays different amounts to two employees in the same position, it is not always readily apparent that discrimination is at play. An employment law attorney may help individuals determine whether they might have a viable claim against their employer for discrimination.