FREE CONSULTATIONS:

888.465.5110

NO FEE UNLESS YOU WIN

Landmark federal court ruling protects LGBT employees from workplace discrimination

In what gay rights advocates are calling a historic victory, a federal appeals court ruled that an existing civil rights law protects lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers from discrimination in the workplace.

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against workers on the basis of color, race, national origin, religion or sex. However, the federal law does not explicitly include sexual orientation. In its ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit concluded that “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.” In other words, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against LGBT employees based on their sexual orientation.

The Chicago court voted 8-3 in favor of adjunct professor Kimberly Hively. Hively filed a lawsuit claiming Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana denied her several full-time posts because she was a lesbian. In its decision, the 7th Circuit reversed an earlier ruling by its own three-judge panel that said the federal law does not apply to sexual orientation.

While the decision marks the first time a federal appeals court has issued such a ruling, it only applies to 7th Circuit states — Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The Supreme Court could either reverse the ruling or affirm it, thereby expanding its application nationwide.

Despite decades of debate, Congress has repeatedly rejected a federal anti-discrimination law for LGBT individuals. But 22 states, including California, have laws prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. Without such protections, LGBT employees can be fired from their jobs simply because an employer disapproves of their sexual orientation.

Although the 7th Circuit’s decision is significant, it does not address whether the federal law also prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of gender identity, as well as issues such as which restrooms transgender individuals may use.

[footer block_id=’778′]

Read more

California lawmakers urged to take action on sexual harassment in government

California lawmakers are dealing with a growing sexual misconduct scandal that has led to questions about whether there are enough protections available for victims and whistleblowers. One of the driving forces behind...
READ ARTICLE

Amazon employee sues for denied overtime and breaks at distribution center

Amazon workers in California are seeking overtime pay, rest breaks and owed wages, claiming the company violated state laws by repeatedly denying them their rightful compensation. A class-action lawsuit covering workers at...
READ ARTICLE

Silicon Valley startup accused of encouraging sexual behavior in workplace

Silicon Valley has been rocked by one sexual harassment lawsuit after another this year, drawing attention to a pervasive problem that exists in far too many workplaces in the technology sector. In...
READ ARTICLE

What the Grubhub trial could mean for workers in the gig economy

In the first lawsuit of its kind to make it to trial in California, Grubhub fought allegations of misclassifying its drivers as independent contractors instead of employees. Other worker misclassification lawsuits in...
READ ARTICLE
SEEN ON
bloomberg
sfgate
kpix
cnnmoney
marin-ij
dailypost
news10