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Lesbian teacher was sacked for ‘sucking face’ when she kissed her girlfriend goodbye

Joseph McCormick December 1, 2016
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A federal appeals court in the US takes on a discrimination lawsuit against a community college this week.

A three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in July upheld the dismissal of the lawsuit against the Ivy Tech Community College.

But after Kimberly Hively appealed the July decision to throw out the case, a full panel of the court will hear the case.

The court heard that Hively was told an administrator at her previous school back in 2009 that she had been seen “sucking face” when she kissed her girlfriend goodbye.

She was let go in 2014, but said she was treated differently after she was accused of “sucking face”. She also said it took her a year to find a new job.

“The biggest consequence was that it stripped me of my livelihood, my ability to support myself and to be independent,” Hively had said.

She was not in court on Wednesday as she was teaching at her new job.

“I have worked hard my whole life, and I would have to say that a lot of my sense of self-worth is wrapped around a job, and how well I can do at a job. They took that away as well.”

The lawsuit was filed by Hively of South Bend, a former Ivy Tech staff member, who says she was not hired by the college full-time because of her sexual orientation.

“If I had been a man attracted to women, I truly believe I would have been offered a full-time position and given promotions,” Hively said.

But the appeals court ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act does not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation.

While the three-judge panel of the court said Title VII did not cover this case, it criticised a lack of federal workplace protections against such discrimination when it made its decision earlier this year.

Greg Nevins, Hively’s attorney, said at the time: “We are deeply disappointed in the 7th Circuit Court’s decision failing to join the growing consensus that existing civil rights law must reasonably be interpreted to include non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation,” said Human Rights Campaign’s Legal Director Sarah Warbelow.

“While the court made its decision based on what it viewed as precedent, it did make clear however that there is no coherent basis for excluding sexual orientation from other types of sex discrimination claims. The court’s decision makes the need even more urgent for Congress to pass the Equality Act, making explicitly and permanently clear that LGBTQ people are protected under our nation’s civil rights laws.”

Related topics: seventh circuit court of appeals, US

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