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LGBT are protected by Civil Rights Act court rules despite DOJ oppositions

Appeals court rules in favor of LGBT workplace rights.
Photo credit:
Mark Mueller

The community scored a major win in a federal appeals court on Monday, they ruled that LGBT discrimination in the workplace is illegal.

The 10 – 3 ruling flies in the face of the Trump administration and its supporters who have rallied to exclude the LGBT from protections outlined in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 reports LGBTQ Nation.

The court said, “We see no principled basis for recognizing a violation of Title VII for associational discrimination on race but not sex.”

“Sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination because sexual orientation is defined by one’s sex in relation to the sex of those to whom one is attracted, making it impossible for an employer to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation without taking sex into account.”

This ruling closes out the Zarda v. Altitude Express case from their docket in which Donald Zarda came out to a female client and was subsequently fired. Zarda argued that he was protected under Title VII. 

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission agreed with Zarda, but Attorney General Jeff Sessions, under the Justice Department was not convinced and therefore filed an amicus brief in September 2017 which said the definition of sexual discrimination does not include LGBT people.

Today Judge Robert Katzman spoke for the majority broadening that definition, “A woman who is subject to an adverse employment action because she is attracted to women would have been treated differently if she had been a man who was attracted to women." He added,  “We can therefore conclude that sexual orientation is a function of sex and, by extension, sexual orientation discrimination is a subset of sex discrimination.”

Sadly, Zarda was killed in a skydiving accident after filing his lawsuit.

Sarah Kate Ellis, GLAAD president, and CEO applauded the federal appeals court's decision, “Today’s court ruling is a decisive victory and a significant rejection of the Trump Administration’s ongoing campaign to strip rights and protections away from LGBTQ people in the workplace,”

This case has probably not been laid to rest and will more than likely make its way to the Supreme Court.