U.S. Department of Justice Says Bostock Extends to Title IX

Apr 6 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court held in its 2020 opinion in Bostock v. Clayton County that the prohibition on sex discrimination in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 extends to discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity as well.  This is so, Justice Neil M. Gorsuch writing for the Court said, because “it is impossible to discriminate against a person for being homosexual or transgender without discriminating against that individual based on sex.”

In a previous article, I noted that, although Title VII only prohibits discrimination in employment, Bostock was likely to extend into other substantive areas – “from housing, to small business loans, to military operations.”  Indeed, according to the logic of the Bostock Court’s opinion, any federal law that prohibits discrimination “because of [an] individual’s . . . sex” almost certainly would extend to lesbian, gay, and transgender people, too.  This is especially important in the context of Title IX – the federal law that bars sex discrimination by educational institutions that receive federal funding – which recently has become a hot-button topic in the so-called culture wars.

Now the federal Department of Justice has issued a Memorandum clarifying its understanding of Bostock.  Specifically, the Department says that, after Bostock, “the best reading of Title IX’s prohibition on discrimination ‘on the basis of sex’ is that it includes discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation.”  This is so, the Department explains, because Title VII and Title IX are very similar and because Title IX does not contain any “indications to the contrary.”

This clear statement by the Department of Justice likely will inform how other federal agencies interpret laws within their respective jurisdictions.  And although the DOJ Memorandum may not have the force of law, other agencies in the Biden Administration are likely to issue interpretive regulations that do.

LGBT students and employees in Connecticut already enjoy the protections of Connecticut’s broad anti-discrimination laws, which have applied to LGBT people for years.  This Memorandum, however, reinforces an additional avenue that people subjected to sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity discrimination can pursue.  And since Title IX has a longer limitations period than other civil rights laws and no statutory cap on damages, that may be a worthwhile avenue to consider.

Share this Post

U.S. Department of Justice Says Bostock Extends to Education

About the Author

Joshua R. Goodbaum

You deserve justice. We are here to fight for you.

Best Lawyers

Let Us Review Your Case

    We will respond to your message promptly. Although we will keep your message strictly confidential, please note that contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship.

    Client Experiences

    During a very difficult employment situation, I was referred to Joe Garrison. Recognizing the volatile and time sensitive nature of my employment situation, Mr. Garrison met with me immediately (on the weekend no less). He listened to the details of my case, was able to think through possible creative solutions to offer the employer, and was responsive to my myriad of questions. He understood my concerns about litigation versus settlement, and he worked to find the best resolution possible. I am grateful to have had his support at a very difficult time. —J.C., New Haven, CT

    You will never meet a more knowledgeable and compassionate professional than Steve Fitzgerald. My employment situation was very complex, and Attorney Fitzgerald kept me focused while remaining extremely adept and “thinking on his feet.” Should the need present itself again, I would never seek anyone else’s counsel regarding employment issues. I cannot recommend him highly enough. — J.R., New Haven, CT

    Nina Pirrotti provided outstanding legal advice and was trustworthy, dependable, and responsive. From the start, I was confident that her knowledge and experience would obtain favorable results. On a more personal note, I enjoyed working with her and her staff and felt I was included in every part of the process. The dedication, concern, and interest in me as a client was greatly appreciated, and Nina has earned my highest recommendation. — J.H., Monroe, CT

    I recently found myself in need of a lawyer in handling a dispute with my former employer. I was fortunate to retain Josh Goodbaum as my legal counsel. His legal skills knowledge and professionalism shone through in every step of the process resulting in a very positive result. I highly recommend Josh if you find yourself in need of legal counsel. — S.R., Guilford, CT

    When I go to a lawyer for advice, I am usually anxious, particularly the first meeting. Amanda DeMatteis was clear in describing my options and immediately set me at ease. Realistic assessment is important, and Amanda was clear as to how to set up the case and the direction she felt we should go. I had total confidence in her abilities and knew I was being well represented against a large corporation. More importantly, we were successful! —N.M., Haddam, CT

    Proven Results & Personalized Attention When You Need It Most

    American Law Institute Super Lawyers American College of Trial Lawyers Best Lawyers The College of Labor and Employment Lawyers
    Back to Top
    (203) 815-1716