For many years now, LGBT rights advocates have pushed for changes to existing laws regarding workplace discrimination. Although many states protect LGBT workers against discrimination, federal law does not offer the same protection.
Federal law does prohibit employers from discriminating based on race, sex, age, religion, national origin, disability, or genetic information, but it does not specifically refer to sexual orientation or sexual identity. However, in a twist, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals has decided that the law may not need to be improved because it should already be interpreted to protect LGTB Americans against discrimination.
A recent ruling by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago expanded the 1967 Civil Rights Act’s protections against gender discrimination to include LGBT employees in the workplace. The first-of-its-kind Federal Appeals Court ruling was lauded by gay rights advocates nationwide. The case at the center of the decision involved a community college teacher who sued her former employer, claiming she was denied promotions and was eventually fired because she is a lesbian.
Although this ruling is considered a breakthrough, the decision is at odds with another recent ruling from the 11th Circuit, which means it will very likely require a Supreme Court review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sidney Gold
Mr. Gold is the principal shareholder of the Pennsylvania & New Jersey employment law firm of Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. in Philadelphia, which is a preeminent law firm in the field of employment law and civil rights litigation. His practice, as well as that of the law firm, is concentrated in the representation of both employees and employers in all aspects of employment-related litigation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, including claims under federal and state anti-discrimination laws and federal civil rights laws.
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.
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