Saturday, 21 July, 2018

Federal Court Rules LGBT Employees Are Protected Under Civil Rights Act

Federal Court Rules LGBT Employees Are Protected Under Civil Rights Act Federal Court Rules LGBT Employees Are Protected Under Civil Rights Act
Alfredo Watts | 06 April, 2017, 02:17

A federal court in Chicago on Tuesday became the first us appellate court in the nation to rule that LGBT employees are protected from workplace discrimination under the 1964 Civil Rights Act. On Tuesday, however, a federal appeals court in Chicago brought better news, ruling that the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act will now provide workplace protection to members of the LGBT community.

After voting with the majority, Chief Judge Diane Wood said Hively's case was covered under the civil rights law because it "is no different from the claims brought by women who were rejected for jobs in traditionally male workplaces, such as fire departments, construction, and policing".

Last month the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII does not prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination.

"This critically important circuit court decision has adopted a well-grounded legal analysis concluding that our nation's civil rights laws include sexual orientation", said HRC legal director Sarah Warbelow.

Ivy Tech said in a statement that its policies specifically bar discrimination based on sexual orientation and that it denies discriminating against Hively, a factual question separate from the 7th Circuit's finding regarding the law.

The debate in the Hively case revolved around the meaning of the word "sex" in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. She started by noting the paradox created by the Supreme Court's 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges opinion, which legalized gay marriage but left open the possibility that employers could discriminate against employees based on these marriages. The court ruled the 1964 Civil Rights Act protects LGBT employees from discrimination in the workplace.

"... Hively represents the ultimate case of failure to conform to the female stereotype (at least as understood in a place such as modern America, which views heterosexuality as the norm and other forms of sexuality as exceptional): she is not heterosexual".

In an 8 to 3 decision by the Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which covers the states of Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, the court reversed a district court's dismissal of a lawsuit in which an employee alleged her employer discriminated against her because she is a lesbian. In February, it revoked guidance on transgender students' use of public school bathrooms, deferring to states. "I always thought there was a big disconnect when they legalized gay marriage but didn't extend any protections against workplace or housing discrimination".

Debate in the Hively case revolved around the meaning of the word "sex" in Title VII, the section of the law that deals with discrimination.

However, Judge Diane Sykes - who was on President Trump's list of potential Supreme Court nominees - said "sex" could not be stretched to mean "sexual orientation".

"The logic of the Supreme Court's decisions, as well as the common-sense reality that it is actually impossible to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without discriminating on the basis of sex, persuade us", wrote the majority, "that the time has come to overrule our previous cases that have endeavored to find and observe that line". She adds that "legislative change is arduous", but that judges aren't authorized to amend laws. "Ivy Tech respects and appreciates the opinions rendered by the judges of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals and does not intend to seek Supreme Court review".