Trump Administration Opposes Workplace Protections for Gay and Transgender Workers
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion or national origin. This Fall, the US Supreme Court will decide whether "sex" includes sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The two cases, scheduled to be argued in October, are important to the LGBT community and Donald Trump's evangelical supporters who believe that their ability to discriminate is an essential element of their "religious liberty," protected under the First Amendment.
On Friday, the Trump administration filed an amicus [friend of the court] brief with the Supreme Court opposing Title VII workplace protections for gay workers who are fired based on their sexual orientation. Just weeks earlier, the Justice Department submitted another brief asking the Justices to find that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 does not protect transgender people from employment discrimination.
The Supreme Court decided to hear these cases because there is substantial disagreement among lower federal courts on how Title VII should be interpreted. So, in essence, gay and transgender workers are protected against discrimination in some regions of the United States and not in others.
NBC News: "In April 2017, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of educator Kimberly Hively, arguing that her employment termination due to her sexual orientation is in fact covered by Title VII protections. The 11th Circuit, by contrast, declined in December 2017 to reconsider the case of another woman, Jameka Evans, who also alleged employment discrimination on the basis of her sexual orientation and gender-nonconformity. Last February, the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals joined the 7th Circuit in affirming lesbian, gay and bisexual workers’ rights in Zarda v. Altitude Express by ruling that Donald Zarda, a skydiving instructor, had been unlawfully fired for being gay. (Zarda died in 2014.)"
To further complicate things, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission [EEOC], the federal agency that polices employment discrimination, interprets "sex" to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. So, there is now open friction between the EEOC, the primary agency responsible for preventing employment discrimination and Donald Trump's Justice Department.
This is the kind of case that religious conservatives expect to win after the addition of Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh to the court. And, it will likely result in a 5-4 decision undermining LGBT employment rights.
By: Don Lam & Curated Content