On Tuesday, a federal appeal court ruled that workplace discrimination against LGBT employees is prohibited per the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Judge Diane Wood of the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals wrote, “We conclude today that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is a form of sex discrimination.”
Judge Wood’s ruling makes it clear that employers may not make use a person’s sexual orientation in hiring or termination decisions.
“Any discomfort, disapproval, or job decision based on the fact that the complainant — woman or man — dresses differently, speaks differently, or dates or marries a same-sex partner, is a reaction purely and simply based on sex,” Wood wrote.
The judge adds, “That means that it falls within Title VII’s prohibition against sex discrimination, if it affects employment in one of the specified ways”
Greg Nevin of Lambda Legal says this ruling is a historic one.
“This decision is (a) game-changer 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,” said Nevin.
Trump Supreme Court contender, Judge Diane Sykes referred to a case in which Ivy Tech Community College student Kimberly Hively she says she was discriminated against when the school denied her employment.
Judge Sykes said if Hively was denied employment because of her sexual orientation she was, “treated unjustly.”
“But Title VII does not provide a remedy for this kind of discrimination. The argument that it should must be addressed to Congress,” Sykes wrote.
She said believes that sex and sexual orientation are “different” classifications.
“The two traits are categorically distinct and widely recognized as such,” said Sykes.
Professor of law at the University of Texas Steve Vladeck, said this argument was destined to surface sooner or later.
“Federal anti-discrimination laws were always going to be the next battleground after the Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision,” said Vladeck. “And in some respect, these laws are even more important, because they also apply to private parties — such as employers.”
Last month the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Title VII does not prohibit anti-LGBT discrimination.
This conflict in rulings may be headed to the Supreme Court for review.