Plaintiff: Time to stop punishing LGBT people
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 05, 2017,
Apr 05, 2017, 13:33
In a groundbreaking, historic decision, the full 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The decision from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals found that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does also prohibit discriminating against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workers - in addition to discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, and national origin - stating "discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination".
LGBT rights organizations hailed the Chicago ruling as a "game changer", in part because the 7th Circuit is considered relatively conservative.
Judge Diane Sykes, a top contender for the Supreme Court under President Donald Trump, wrote the dissent for three members of the court, calling the majority opinion "momentous". "Our panel described the line between a gender nonconformity claim and one based on sexual orientation as gossamer-thin; we conclude that it does not exist at all".
Hively alleged the college did not hire her full time because she is a lesbian.
The appeals court explained that it based its conclusion on previous Supreme Court decisions that involved gay rights and employment discrimination.
At a time when all odds seem stacked against the LGB community, given the current Trump administration and its anti-LGBT components, such as Mike Pence, Jeff Sessions, et al, this is a ruling that we can all applaud. "The court's decision makes the need even more urgent for Congress to pass the Equality Act, making explicitly and permanently clear that LGBTQ people are protected under our nation's civil rights laws".
She said that if Hively was denied a job because of her sexual orientation, she was "treated unjustly".
The lawyer for an IN teacher who has won a federal appeals court ruling protecting LGBT employees from workplace discrimination says the decision is a "game changer" for lesbian and gay workers.
The decision-which came in Lambda Legal's case on behalf of Kimberly Hively, an instructor at Ivy Tech Community College who was sacked for being a lesbian-makes the Seventh Circuit the highest federal court to reach this conclusion and could change the national landscape of employment law for LGBT people.
This marks the first time a federal appellate court has ruled this way, and rejects an earlier decision made in July that argued such discrimination was not prohibited under Title VII.
The majority of the 7th Circuit sided with a broader meaning.
"It's understandable that the court is impatient to protect lesbians and gay men from workplace discrimination without waiting for Congress to act". On October 11, 2016 that request was granted, and in November, Greg Nevins, Employment Fairness Program Director for Lambda Legal, appeared once again, to ask that the court overturn its prior decisions limiting the reach of Title VII.