USA: American Bar Association files amicus brief to support LGBT employees & urges Supreme Court to recognise prohibition against discrimination on sexual orientation
Author: Amanda Robert, ABA Journal, Published on: 5 July 2019
"ABA amicus brief supports LGBTQ employees in Title VII discrimination cases", 3 July 2019
In an amicus brief filed in support of employees in a trio of cases, the ABA urged the U.S. Supreme Court to recognize that the prohibition against discrimination “based on … sex” in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act encompasses discrimination based on an employee’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Supreme Court is considering whether federal employment discrimination laws protect LGBTQ employees after granting certiorari in and consolidating Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia; Altitude Express v. Zarda and R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. EEOC. The ABA’s news release is here.
Consistent with its mission, the ABA has advocated for the elimination of sex discrimination for more than three decades to ensure that “all persons—regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, or transgender status—can fully and equally participate in the public and private spheres,” according to its brief.
The ABA told the court that “recognizing sexual orientation and transgender status discrimination as forms of sex discrimination honors the plain text of Title VII’s statutory prohibition against discrimination ‘because of * * * sex,’ consistent with this court’s long-standing interpretations.”
In Bostock, a former employee of Clayton County, Georgia alleged that his employment was terminated because he was gay. The U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia ruled that Title VII does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and dismissed the case. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta affirmed the dismissal.
Similarly, in Altitude Express, a former employee of Altitude Express alleged that his employment was terminated because he was gay. The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted summary judgment to the employer on the Title VII claims and dismissed the case. A panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City affirmed the dismissal, but in rehearing en banc, the full court concluded that Title VII does prohibit sexual orientation discrimination.
The third case, R.G. Harris, involves a former employee of R.G. Harris who alleged her employment was terminated when she requested to be identified as a female rather than as a male...