US federal court declines to re-hear case which found employers can discriminate against gays
A US federal court has declined to rehear a case which earlier this year found that an employer could discriminate against a lesbian employee.
Earlier this year, a three-judge panel of the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the 1964 Title VII doesn’t protect against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Jameka Evans had sued former employer Georgia Regional Hospital in Savannah, saying she was discriminated against and forced out of her job.
The panel voted 2-1 to state that Title VII, which does protect for a number of factors, doesn’t include sexual orientation.
The 11th Circuit on Thursday declined to take up the case with a full court.
According to Lambda Legal, the organisation representing Evans, she plans to appeal to the US Supreme Court.
Greg Nevins, a lawyer with Lambda, confirmed that the organisation would appeal the decision.
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It is not guaranteed that the US Supreme Court will take on the case, but lower courts are divided on the issue.
Under its new Republican leadership, the Department of Commerce has revised its equal employment opportunity policy for employees, to omit a reference to sexual orientation and gender identity.
The change comes from Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who issued a new version of the Secretarial Policy Statement on Equal Employment Opportunity this week.
The 2016 statement had listed protected characteristics as “race, colour, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, genetic information, or disability”.
However, the 2017 version was very specifically edited to remove LGBT people.