US: Supreme Court next stop for argument gays protected under Title VII

The legal team behind a lawsuit seeking redress for a Georgia worker allegedly fired for being a lesbian is poised to seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court, potentially setting up a decision establishing a nationwide prohibition on anti-gay workplace discrimination. 

The plan came about after the U.S. Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta refused on Thursday to rehear “en banc,” or before the full court, a three-judge panel decision against Jameka Evans, a security guard who claims she was targeted for harassment and effectively terminated from her job at Georgia Regional Hospital for being a lesbian.

The 11th Circuit decision against Evans and the refusal to rehear the case “en banc” defies a growing body of casework that has determined sexual-orientation discrimination in the workplace is unlawful under current law based on the prohibition of sex discrimination under Title VII.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency charged with enforcing federal employment laws, ruled in 2015 sexual-orientation is a form a sex discrimination in the Baldwin v. Foxx case. That decision followed the commission’s 2012 decision in Macy v. Holder that determined transgender discrimination is illegal under Title VII.

A number of trial courts and state courts have accepted that line of legal reasoning. Now that the 11th Circuit had ruled the opposite way on the Title VII and all legal remedies in that legal circuit are exhausted, a circuit split has emerged between the 7th and 11th Circuit — the exact kind of situation that would make the Supreme Court step in. Read more via Washington Blade