Laverne Cox speaks out on Supreme Court LGBTQ discrimination cases

Actress and LGBTQ advocate Laverne Cox and American Civil Liberties Union attorney Chase Strangio explain the importance of fighting discrimination in the workplace.
7:25 | 10/07/19

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Transcript for Laverne Cox speaks out on Supreme Court LGBTQ discrimination cases
Back you're down Washington up on cap up on Capitol Hill not far steps in the capital the Supreme Court today opened its new term and it is set. To be a blockbuster take a look today at the number of issues hot button issues. On the docket before the justices have they gaveled in their new term today they're preparing to take on a series of major cases much more contentious. I than anything we've seen in the last couple of years including cases. I'm LG BT employment discrimination. Of course dock of the protections for those dreamers young undocumented immigrants set in Spain place by. A President Obama canceled by president trump gun rights the first case in ten years will be heard this year abortion. Told you about that last week taking up that we Z and a law. We're gonna hear cases on life without parole for juveniles is backed constitutional. The bridge gate scandal involving former governor Chris Christie will come before the Supreme Court as well and then. Others and been a fascinating case out of Montana involving religious private schools. And whether they can get their grant money from state taxpayers a full docket there today it was great to be in the courtroom scene with Peter Ginsberg. Fire off that first question she's looking in good form we shouldn't the justice Clarence Thomas was missing today from the bench he is. Out because of an undisclosed illness but those justices are plowing ahead. One of the cases that they will take tomorrow is the biggest of the term and involves. Employment discrimination. Against gay and transgender Americans fired because of who they are. Actress in Chan's gender advocate Laverne Cox and ACLU attorney chase street just stopped by the briefing room last week. To explain ride this is a case it's you're gonna wanna file. Liver Cox and chase stranger thank you so much for joining us in the briefing room due to have teamed up to raise awareness about this case. And boy you made a splash at the Emmys let's show everybody those pictures and you guys on the red carpet we took notice of that purse Laverne tell us. About it what message you are trying to send there. Well this is probably the most consequential case for LG BTQ plus rights. I'm civil rights of the Supreme Court will hear in my lifetime and no moment talking about the case knows it what can I do. And I was blessed that we nominate for an Emmy this year and I sit up we can maybe use is any platform to help raise awareness about this case and that's. And that person man designed by. Title seven Supreme Court. Let's put up up for everybody what the law is right now it's called title seven designed. Your first Laverne and that is a section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and that's what it actually says. Says it's against the law in this country to fail or refuse to hire someone. Or fire someone. Or otherwise discriminate against them. On the basis of a number of categories including a person's race color religion sex. Or national origin end. Any marketing that you may hear Laverne is that sex should cover gender identity chip cover sexual orientation. Well. If you discriminate against a transfer its and because their transgender and that is de facto discrimination on the basis of sex and. Basically they. At some scenes that someone that's. I signed it mailer birds and transgendered person like me should present and as this very specific way and assuming that some minds are present specific way. Is defective sex discrimination based on six stereotypes which is that Pressler customers of Hopkins Supreme Court president Ed Tate could tell you more about and I can't. But I also is hoping both review could talk a little bit about some of the the characters in this case the courageous Americans who brought forward these charges of discrimination one of which. Is Amy Stevens she was a long time funeral home. Our director Ann M Ballmer in Michigan she had been working for RG NGR Harris funeral homes. After about six years and back god mother was twice a thirteen she sent a letter to her boss she said. She sexy Anthony Stephens at the time. And starting on Monday should be coming to work is Amy Stevens in that set off. A chain of events in which she was fired what do you make her her story. And is how courageous was it for her to basically tell it to us you know I think. Probably humiliating and degrading when you've been doing a job for a long time and our success allowed it. To be fired when your when you're just saying who you are and that's really that's what happened here and she had not spent six years. Defending her rights in court all the way at the United States Supreme Court which takes. A lot out of you so she really is someone who is. Paving the way for all chance under people on it yeah I think yes thank you so much Amy fare being this courageous. That's it's a big deal on MM number a lot of people are aware of the discrimination the trans community faces in this country have you ever faced. Discrimination in the workplace for who you are tell us about your experience. I've overtly back in the day had with discriminating against in health care very specifically. Meant to see you hospital I don't talk of but if the U hospital here in New York City because I was denied care because I'm trans so employment discrimination is a really big deal and what we're talking about you when our government sanctioned discrimination against dads. Is eight giving everyone in the country permission to also discriminate against that. I just want to get your response to the arguments on the other side all three employers in these cases before the Supreme Court deny. I'm that they actually discriminated against these people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity they say this was. Now about other things misconduct in the workplace in the case of Amy Stephens they say was about the dress code here's what attorney John Bursch. Told us she says the funeral home owner testified that if Stephenson wanted to dress in addition. In a different fashion I'm not on company time that would have been perfectly fine. But as long as anybody was at work and an applied to all employees male or female they have to follow the company's dress code. It has been in place for decades in the lawyer says that's based on your biological sex. They wanted to Amy Stevens to address as a man and and these and say that was the policy what he said of that. Andy is Amy Stevens case we're seeing a host sort of anti trans writer NA masquerading. As a cern have. Jaffa vacations around the dress code but. At core this is a question about whether or not go live at a covered us for many years. I'm city rolled back to allow discrimination against Athens I think it's really important that people understand. That the lower court holy rejected that argument in and what is before the court is whether it's awful to fire someone for being transgender full stop. But what will it mean for the LG BT community if in fact the court does come out and say. You know why these firings were all wrong. Sexual orientation and gender identity are protected under the law. It would be incredible victory for us he would be consistent estates is mentioned with. Decisions made in lower courts and it'll affirm that in the United States of America is should not be illegal to fire someone simply for being who they are. We cannot live in a country that says it's okay to fire you just because of who you lie that is just. Blatantly wrong and it's not they America that I wanna live man. All right we thank you both up to see down here later this week Laverne Cox chase stranger thank you so much for coming and thank you thank cam.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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