Search 
 
User Login 
Password 
    Remember My Login 
 
 
 
Quick Links
 
Contact Us
Site Map
 
 

Labor News


Landmark Federal Court Decision Extends Workplace Discrimination Protections to LGBT People

04/06/2017

In a groundbreaking, 8-3 decision, the full Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation violates federal civil rights law. The court found that such discrimination is a form of sex discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, and religion. The decision—which came in Lambda Legal’s case on behalf of Kimberly Hively, an instructor at Ivy Tech Community College who was fired 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.

“In many cities and states across the country, lesbian and gay workers are being fired because of who they love. But, with this decision, federal law is catching up to public opinion: ninety-percent of Americans already believe that LGBT employees should be valued for how well they do their jobs—not who they love or who they are. Now, through this case and others, that principle is backed up by the courts,” said Greg Nevins, Employment Fairness Program Director for Lambda Legal. “This decision is gamechanger for lesbian and gay employees facing discrimination in the workplace and sends a clear message to employers: it is against the law to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.”

In the opinion filed Tuesday, Chief Judge Diane Wood writes:

“… 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. 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’s claim 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. The employers in those cases were policing the boundaries of what jobs or behaviors they found acceptable for a woman (or in some cases, for a man).”

“Love won again today,” said Lambda Legal CEO Rachel Tiven. “Kim Hively loved her job teaching math at Ivy Tech Community College, but she was fired because she is a lesbian. Today the 7th Circuit said clearly: that’s wrong. Our movement is about love and pride. Pride in yourself and your work, and the freedom to love and to be treated equally. Even in these challenging times, Lambda Legal continues to win in court and make our country better.”

“I have been saying all this time that what happened to me wasn’t right and was illegal. Now I will have my day in court, thanks to this decision,” said Kimberly Hively. “No one should be fired for being lesbian, gay, or transgender like happened to me and it’s incredibly powerful to know that the law now protects me and other LGBT workers.”

LGBT Weekly 4/5

   


Los Angeles:
7715 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 200
Hollywood, CA 90046
(323) 876-4770
 Find us on
 Facebook
 Find us on
 Twitter
New York:
145 Hudson Street, Suite 201
New York, NY 10013
(212) 302-0700

(800) 705-8700 • webmaster

Copyright © 2008 Motion Picture Editors Guild, IATSE Local 700, All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy