This court case may increase protection for LGBT workers
Judges have fired back at a school’s lawyer in a case where a lesbian teacher was sacked for kissing her girlfriend.
New York Magazine said they also “indicated they’re ready to expand the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect the LGBT community — a move that would secure LGBT rights in the workplace and overhaul nondiscrimination law nationwide.”
Judge Richard Posner said: “Who will be hurt if gays and lesbians have a little more job protection?”
The provision in the Civil Rights Act bans workplace bias based on race, religion, national origin or sex.
The school’s lawyer argued that the word “sex” was imprecise and that it was never meant to include sexual orientation.
Therefore arguing that the teacher had not been wrongfully dismissed by Ivy Tech Community College.
But Judge Posner said: “You seem to think the meaning of the statute was frozen on the day it passed…That, of course, is false…Are we bound by what people thought in 1964?”
If the seventh US Circuit Court of Appeals rules that the law does cover sexual orientation, legal experts have said it may end up in front of the Supreme Court.
The lawyer argues that only Congress can extend the protection of the law.
Chicago-based labor lawyer Barry Hartstein said: “A GOP-majority House and Senate also makes it unlikely the next Congress will amend the statute.”
“You can’t count on Congress or the courts,” he added, even though he wants the act to cover LGBT workers.
President Obama’s administration has advocated that it does cover sexual orientation and has criticised courts for not acting on that.