“The arguments raised by Saks in that case, that transgender employees are not protected, it caused a firestorm for them because of the fact that they are a retailer that has a lot of policies favoring LGBTQ people,” said Jillian Weiss, a prominent employment discrimination lawyer who brought the case. “They backed off that position. But now nobody is going to be able to take that position.”
Weiss said she expected the decision Monday to change her bargaining position in settlement talks with defendants who had said, “We’re not going to give you more because once the Supreme Court rules, then we’d have to give you zero.”
When a Walmart associate named Jacqueline Cote filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in 2014 contending that the company was discriminating against her by denying health insurance benefits to her same-sex spouse, it signaled the beginning of a drawn-out legal battle.