US top court in landmark ruling to protect LGBT workers

first_imgThe group uses the longer version of the acronym, in which the Q stands for “questioning” — as in still exploring one’s sexuality — or “queer.””The court has caught up to the majority of our country, which already knows that discriminating against LGBTQ people is both unfair and against the law,” he said in a statement. Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president, hailed the decision as “a momentous step forward for our country.” “Before today, in more than half of states, LGBTQ+ people could get married one day and be fired from their job the next day under state law, simply because of who they are or who they love,” said Biden, who was vice president when the court made its historic ruling in favor of same sex marriage in 2015.Rights activists had feared that Trump’s appointment of two new conservative judges to the top court could hinder further wins for their cause.Yet it was one of them, Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the majority decision, joining with the court’s four progressive-leaning judges and Chief Justice John Roberts.”An employer who fires an individual for being homosexual or transgender fires that person for traits or actions 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,” Gorsuch wrote.”Those who adopted the Civil Rights Act might not have anticipated their work would lead to this particular result,” Gorsuch said. “But the limits of the drafters’ imagination supply no reason to ignore the law’s demands.” Trump’s administration had effectively thrown in its lot with employers, but the president later Monday called the ruling “very powerful”.”They ruled and we live with their decision,” he said.Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activists, as well as Democratic politicians and several major businesses, had been demanding that the court spell out that the community was protected by the law. “This is a huge victory for LGBTQ equality,” said James Esseks, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s LGBTQ & HIV Project.  The US Supreme Court delivered a landmark victory for the gay and transgender communities Monday when it ruled that employers cannot discriminate against workers because of their sexual orientation.In a blow to the administration of President Donald Trump, the court ruled by six votes to three that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlaws discrimination against employees because of a person’s sex, also covers sexual orientation and transgender status.”Today we must decide whether someone can be fired simply for being homosexual or transgender,” the court said. “The answer is clear.” Topics : ‘Fired for coming out’ Solicitor General Noel Francisco, representing the government’s position before the court, argued that “sex refers to whether you were born woman or man, not your sexual orientation or gender identity.” He said it was the job of Congress to update the law, not the justice system.The Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian religious freedom group, said the court’s decision was “truly troubling” and encroached on the religious beliefs of employers.Donna Stephens, the wife of transgender plaintiff Aimee Stephens who died last month, hailed her late partner’s struggle for justice after being sacked by a Detroit funeral parlor when she came out.”For the last seven years of Aimee’s life, she rose as a leader who fought against discrimination against transgender people,” Stephens said. “I am grateful for this victory to honor the legacy of Aimee, and to ensure people are treated fairly regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” she said in a statement.Among Democratic leaders hailing the ruling was Pete Buttigieg, the former Navy officer and mayor who became the first openly gay person to run for the Democratic presidential nomination. “It was only 11 years ago this summer that I took an oath and accepted a job that I would have lost, if my chain of command learned that I was gay. Firing us wasn’t just permitted — it was policy,” he said.Pop superstar Taylor Swift also lauded the decision, tweeting, “We still have a long way to go to reach equality, but this is a beautiful step forward.”last_img read more

UK regulator to expand scope and powers [updated]

first_imgTPR said it had identified core regulatory risks that would pose “a significant threat to the achievement of our regulatory outcomes”, in order to establish its priorities for the next three years. Charles Counsell, chief executive, TPRThese risks included: the failure or unmanaged exit of a trust-based scheme or its provider; excessive numbers of individuals opting out or not saving into pensions; and pension schemes or their members becoming victims of fraud.Counsell – who took over from Lesley Titcomb as TPR boss at the start of last month – said that with the regulator’s powers now extending to far more schemes than in the past, including smaller schemes, it would engage with them “if they cause us concern”.TPR’s enforcement team would carry out “full investigations into those who wilfully or persistently flout their duties”, he added.In the plan, TPR said it had already been using “a broader range of our powers to deter and punish those who persistently fail to comply” over the past 12 months.“The past year has seen our first prosecution for fraud, our first custodial sentence, and the courts handing down the largest ever fine following a TPR prosecution,” said the regulator’s chairman Mark Boyle.“We have also seen a number of high-profile cases being resolved, including Southern Water agreeing to pay £50m [€57.1m] into its pension scheme under a shortened recovery plan.”TPR confirmed it would continue working with other UK regulators, in particular the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Money and Pensions Service, on DB to DC transfers, and that it would be launching a joint review of the “consumer pensions journey” with the FCA.Laura McLaren, partner at Hymans Robertson, said the regulator’s plan served to reaffirm its pledge last year to be “clearer, quicker, tougher”.“A clear sign of its hardening stance comes under the heading of ‘using a broader range of powers’ where the regulator is at pains to demonstrate it has both sharp teeth and well exercised jaws, with examples of where it has taken decisive action,” McLaren said.“With many trustees and sponsors already starting to feel the impact of this shift we believe that increasing clarity and transparency should be welcomed.Recent Hymans Robertson research showed 29% of trustees wanted to see “more clarity on what ‘prudence’ and ‘affordable’ mean”, she added, with 13% “valuing more clarity on when TPR will intervene”.“This greater clarity will in turn help to inform those who are at greater risk of intervention to understand what to expect if the regulator’s jaws come down in their direction,” she said.Further reading‘Clearer, quicker, tougher’: UK regulator sets out three-year plan In last year’s three-year plan, TPR said it would increase its staff and “take action in a broader and more visible way to improve outcomes for retirement savers” UK to consider criminal sanctions against negligent scheme sponsors The UK government last year pledged to grant TPR more powers to fine directors and companies “to tackle irresponsible activities that may cause a material detriment to a pension scheme”This article was updated on 17 May to add comment from Hymans Robertson. The UK’s Pensions Regulator (TPR) has promised to extend its regulatory grip and intervene to ensure defined benefit (DB) schemes are properly funded to meet their liabilities.In its corporate plan for 2019-22 TPR stated that, as part of its more proactive and targeted approach, hundreds more schemes would be contacted in the coming year – including the use of a “rapid response” team to respond more quickly to intelligence about companies or major restructuring plans.The regulator said: “Communications clarifying duties and TPR’s expectations will be sent to DB schemes, newly authorised master trusts, defined contribution (DC) schemes and new employers with auto-enrolment responsibilities.”Charles Counsell, chief executive of TPR, said he recognised the plan was being published at a time of “great change in both the pensions landscape and the way TPR works”, citing the increase in automatic enrolment contributions to 8%, effective from last month, and the new authorisation regime for master trusts.last_img read more