June 23, 2020

Celebrating Pride Month and employment equality

Written by

Vicker Selwynv2 2018webLast week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which protects employees from discrimination based on sex, includes protections for the LGBTQ community. In other words, it is no longer legal for employers to fire someone because of their gender identity or sexual identity. As a top-tier academic medical center that values LGBTQ individuals equally to their heterosexual and cisgender peers, we celebrate and affirm this momentous ruling not just for our LGBTQ employees, but also for the greater LGBTQ community in America. Our enterprise is strengthened by our diversity, and LGBTQ individuals have brought a great deal of intellect, talent, and compassion to the School of Medicine.

Prior to this ruling, LGBTQ employees had limited employment protection in our state. However, I’m proud to say that our university has been at the forefront of the movement for LGBTQ rights in Alabama; in fact, UAB was the first of the large universities in the state to offer health benefits to same-sex partners back in 2009. Having said that, we know that LGBTQ folks still face large barriers to accessing affirming health care throughout the state, and we must continue to be vocal leaders in this area. Also, the ruling did not address other civil rights questions, such as whether LGBTQ people can be refused access to housing or denied services from businesses, but the School of Medicine will continue to be opposed to discrimination against any American.